Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young has street named after him in hometown
Trae Young smiled proudly and clapped with his Atlanta Hawks teammates and other attendees when he saw the street sign for the first time that read “Trae Young Drive” in his hometown of Norman, Oklahoma.
The Hawks guard’s hometown dedicated a street in his honor Sunday afternoon in recognition of his contributions to the city. Trae Young Drive is in front of the new Young Family Athletic Center, a multisport and swimming complex slated to open in January 2024. Young’s parents and siblings, Hawks teammates, former Hawks star Dominique Wilkins and Norman mayor Larry Heikkila were in attendance.
“It’s still just a whirlwind,” Young, 25, told Andscape in a phone interview Sunday after the event. “As athletes and pros, we all dream of being in the NBA or dreaming of hitting big shots and big moments or whatever. You don’t necessarily dream about having your own street named after you. So having that is surreal and I don’t know if it’s really hit me yet. I think it will once I see people really driving on it and me having to type in [and] drive on my Apple map search to get it; that’s when I think it would hit me.”
Introducing Trae Young Drive 🧊
The City of Norman, Oklahoma honored Trae by dedicating a street to him in his hometown ❤️🙌 pic.twitter.com/ULhGJjPy2Y
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) November 5, 2023
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) November 5, 2023
Young was born in Lubbock, Texas, where his father was a basketball star at Texas Tech, but the two-time NBA All-Star grew up in Norman. The former Norman North High School star was ranked as the nation’s 23rd best prospect in the 2017 ESPN 100 after averaging 42.6 points per game as a senior.
When he committed to the Oklahoma Sooners in 2017, the renowned sharpshooter added to his Norman legacy by signing where he was “most comfortable.” Young averaged a nation’s best 27.4 points per game and 8.7 assists with the Sooners before being drafted fifth overall by the Hawks in 2018.
“Norman meant everything to me,” Young said. “I let everybody know I was born in Texas but raised in Oklahoma. I definitely put the Oklahoma flag on my back because I know I really grew up here. I went to elementary school here, middle school here, high school and then college. So, it really raised me to be who I am today.
“And I don’t mind letting people know I’m from a small city and a place that not a lot of people really make it to be professionals in anything. So, I definitely try to represent it every day.”
Young and his sisters, Caitlyn and Camryn, grew up playing sports at the YMCAs in Norman. He plans to offer local youth a sports facility on a grander level with the new Young Family Athletic Center that he has invested $4 million into through The Trae Young Family Foundation.
YFAC has eight basketball/volleyball courts and an Olympic-sized swimming pool in a 122,000 square foot facility in North Norman. Young hopes the facility will also be a hot bed for local high school, AAU and national youth basketball and volleyball tournaments and swimming meets. Attendees to such events would also bring money to the Norman economy.
“We have the [YFAC] that we built, and my street leads right onto it. So, we will have some of the biggest tournaments, some of the biggest high school games,” Young said. “I’m trying to have them brought to Oklahoma and you’re going to have to turn onto Trae Young Drive if you’re going to want to go to the gym. So, it is a pretty cool thing.”
Young was pleasantly surprised about his Hawks teammates attending the ceremony on a day off. The Hawks defeated the host New Orleans Pelicans 123-105 on Saturday and then flew to Oklahoma City afterward. Young’s teammates also took part in a tour of the YFAC.
“All my teammates came out,” Young said. “I didn’t even tell any of them about me having my own street named after me or I was going to be celebrating it when I got here. But I think a couple of them got word. And then they all told me that they was coming. So, to see them all show up, it was really cool because I know they’re all busy.”
The Hawks (4-2) make their lone regular-season visit to play the Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3) on Monday night. Young added that it always means a lot to play back home in OKC, which is about 20 miles from Norman. Young has averaged 25.1 points, 9.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds in nine career games (5-4) against the Thunder, according to Statmuse, including 41 points March 30, 2022, in Oklahoma City.
“The game in Oklahoma City is always special,” Young said. “It’s not too often you are on the road and you get cheers when your name is called out in the starting five. It’s always a cool feeling coming back here. I see a lot of familiar faces in the crowd when I go to the game, so it’s always fun.”