But, now he’s back as a starter for 2022, and gets another shot to put Atlanta on the national map.
“I still feel like I should be a three-time All-Star right now, but I’m definitely honored to be here this year and to be going and representing, like I said, my team and the city in All-Star weekend, it’s one of the biggest weekends in the NBA, and to go out there and represent them, I’m going to try to do my best,” Young said.
As a franchise, the Hawks are in a very different place from the last time Young went to All-Star weekend. At that time, Young wanted to draw some positive attention to the Hawks amid their rebuilding phase. Last year’s Eastern Conference finals run (and Young’s wild success against New York in the first round and Philadelphia in the second) achieved that, but now he gets a chance to put an extra spotlight on Atlanta.
The Hawks had a poor start to the season at 17-25, but are gaining traction and chemistry, inching closer to .500 (22-25 as of Friday afternoon) with a five-game win streak.
“It’s always an honor, and I try to do it as much as I can, make our playoff run, do that same thing. All-Star weekend is the same thing for me. It’s just I want to go out there and represent not only myself and my family and my last name well, but I know I’m representing Atlanta and this city and everybody who’s a Hawks fan as well,” Young said. “So I know I’m not just doing it for myself.”
It’s also a point of pride for Young already to have two All-Star starting bids in only his fourth NBA season, at age 23.
“I take a lot of pride in it,” Young said. “I mean, coming into the draft, I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think I’d be where I’m at now. So for me, every summer, every time I get a chance to work on my game and get better, that’s what I’m thinking about, is how I can do more and how can I achieve more. I always tell y’all it’s about winning, and I always say winning will take care of everything, and I wish we could have had another player or two join the team, and we still may have a chance, but I know winning will take care of everything. So that’s why it’s always the first thing that’s on my mind is winning because I know things like this can come with it.”