Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks celebrates after the Hawks scored against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena on October 21, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

Young has friends who know all about winning Skills Challenge

Time for Trae Young to text Dwyane Wade – again.

The Hawks rookie point guard had forged a relationship with the future Hall of Famer. Young recently sent a message to make sure he would get a game-worn jersey after what was likely to be Wade’s final game in Atlanta last month. Now, he’s looking for some advice.

Young will be competing in the Rising Stars Challenge and the Skills Challenge during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend in Charlotte on Friday and Saturday. He plans to seek out Wade, a two-time winner of the Skills Challenge. Young also considered breaking out some old tires to practice the pass element of the competition after a recent practice. Wade won the competition in back-to-back years in 2006-07.

“I wanted to compete in the Skills Challenge,” Young said. “I’ve dreamed of doing events at All-Star Weekend growing up as kid. Being able to go there and compete as a rookie, is an honor.

“It’s crazy. It’s unbelievable. I’ve never been to an All-Star Weekend. This is my first one. I’m looking forward to going out, enjoying everything, being a sponge to everything. Hopefully, God willing, I’ll participate in a lot more All-Star Weekends in the future.”

Young and teammate John Collins will play for Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday. After Young competes in the Skills Challenge, Collins will compete in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday.

Young may get his wish of multiple trips to the all-star festivities, according to Kent Bazemore.

“I think it’s a good experience and I think it’s something they are going to have to get used to,” Bazemore said. “Two players who I think for the rest of their careers are going to be attending All-Star Weekend.”

Collins said he likely will call upon Young to help deliver a pass in the dunk contest. Young said he is eager to root for Collins to “get a win.”

Young is earning his place in the NBA quickly. He and Collins have developed an on-court rapport that have resulted in one successful pick-and-roll exchange after another.

Young has averaged 16.9 points and 7.6 assists this season. He is first among rookies in assists, ahead of Luka Doncic, and second in points, behind Doncic. He has twice been named Rookie of the Month in the Eastern Conference. The two players, traded for each other on draft night, will be on opposite sides of the court in the Rising Stars Challenge and Doncic plays for Team World.

“I’m super excited,” Young said. “The Rising Stars Challenge is going to be loaded with a lot of talent on both teams. I’m looking forward to going out there and having fun. I’m glad John is going to be able to go out there with me and play together some more.”

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