You may have heard of the paradox of birth. It is a probability equation that states that if you have 23 random people in a room, there is a 50 percent chance that at least two of them share the same birthday. Sounds wild, right?
If you thought that was crazy, wait until you hear about the Atlanta Hawks backcourt. All-star guards Trae Young, 24, and Dejounte Murray, 26, not only share the same birthday, September 19, but their personalities mirror each other. Both are ruthless killers with a selfless attitude in court. Both are loving fathers at home. Both are perfectionists who know they’ve had early season shooting struggles. Both are problem solvers who know what needs to be done to reach East Boston’s level. It must be a virgin thing.
SLAM 241 featuring Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Shop here.
The Atlanta Hawks can’t explain any of that. They hope the city’s first NBA Finals appearance will be seen in the Cosmos. Whether it’s unscientific or pure coincidence, the fact that these birthday twins are standing in the same gym, wearing the same Hawks jersey and wearing the same SLAM cover at this time is one indication that the team is headed in the right direction. The two guards sat down after a tough loss to talk family, focus and, of course, basketball.
SLAM: We were told that today is your first real day off in a minute. If you weren’t doing this interview and photo shoot, what would a typical day off look like?
Trey Young: I spent it with my family. I spent it at home. If you have a couple of days between games, you want to find a way to get away from basketball, whether it’s spending time with your family, going to a movie, or whatever. For me, personally, I think it helps to escape your mind for a while, because basketball can be every day. Sometimes it’s good to have a day off to get away from him.
DEJOUNTE MURRAY: For me, I brought my family here with me [too]. I love being around my family. You know, I’m a homebody, so I always fall into the trap of opening up basketball and just sitting there and watching a lot of games around the league. But mainly, [I’m with] My family, watching movies. such as [Trae] Basketball is something we do every day so we are trying to escape from it. And when you take them out for days, you should take advantage of being with your family because we’re going to be away for so long.
SLAM: You had a tough loss against Boston. How do you reflect after a game like this? Are you going to watch a movie right away?
TY: I’ll do it right after the game, fresh from it. I mean, I probably can’t sleep, so there’s no reason to sit there and watch something else. You can go back to the game and learn from it. In the next day, it’s too much, so you have to prepare for the next day or the next group. The NBA is so fast. You cannot hold on to defeat or victory for long.
DM When I got home I had dinner and was able to watch the game. I was telling Track, knowing how the game went and how many threes they hit, it’s early. [in the season] And they showed us that we are a new team. We have a lot to learn, work and improve. They were together. But it’s not an excuse. We lost. But as he said, go ahead. We will play again on Saturday and Monday. You can’t really sit in one place, in one group. You win and you lose and you move on to the next one.
SLAM: Speaking of the young teams, how would you rate things so far?
DM I know I can be better.
I know it could be better. Whether we’re texting, it’s what we say on the way to practice or on the plane. It’s just trying to find ways to push each other and get the best out of each other. But making sure our team is engaged and making sure we’re working as a whole. So, the level? We are nowhere we should be; that’s nice. It is early and long year. And I believe we will get to where we are.
TY: I think it’s going as smoothly as possible. I mean, it’s a new team. We’ve got major highlights and new pieces [serving] Main roles for us. I think even in some of the wins we didn’t play as well as we wanted to. I think it’s time to adjust. I’m very happy with where we are now, but I know we have a long way to go. We both talk about it, he said, what we need to be better at and what we can be better at. But I think being with new teammates is part of this adjustment period, thinking you want to be the best for the person next to you. You want to make it as easy as possible for the next person. But it becomes natural when we play more games.
SLAM: Trey, you knew Dejounte before the trade. What did you learn about him that you didn’t know before you were teammates?
TY: There wasn’t too much I didn’t know just from our conversation and conversation. As soon as the trade happened, being able to go out to Seattle, play in that pro-am together, and be able to have dinner that night, cut it out and get to know him more. [was great]. We were lucky enough to get to know each other a little bit before the season. So, now that the season is here, it’s not our focus. [getting to know each other]. I mean, that’s going to be the focus throughout the year, but it’s not the forefront. We met before. We spent time with each other. We know what we like and what we don’t like. We know how to be family people. So far so good. We just have to move on.
SLAM: Dejounte, have you learned anything about Trae?
DM He is cold. He is soft. He has swag. I’ve told him before that I’ve been a fan since he was in high school. He is shorter than me. I am so involved in basketball and the world of sports [that I noticed him]. I’ve been around him watching him fight. He loves his Chick-fil-A. Just learning everything. What we were able to do before training camp was dope. It was like oh, we got to camp and now we weren’t trying to get to know each other and talk. It was immediately.
SLAM: Anytime you look courtside at a Hawks game, you see 2 Chainz, Lil Baby, whoever. Tell me about the Atlanta you’ve gotten to know over the past few months.
DM That’s what I expected. We came here last year and played. One thing I do is just look at the arenas, the fans and the culture wherever we play because it’s different everywhere. One thing that stood out to me last year [in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena] Just by playing in the game, you could feel the atmosphere and feel a different culture. And like I said, I watch a lot of hops. When I watch these games, you can see how much fun the team has. But also, you can see how engaged the fans are. And obviously, all the celebrities, showing that they love watching the hoops and love the Falcons, representing Atlanta, Georgia makes it better for us as a whole.
SLAM: Trey, you recently became a father. How have you changed since your child was born?
TY: I think everyone who has a child understands how to keep things just for you. Some things that are important to you may not be important. Or some important things, you make them more just because your son or daughter is here. For me, just meeting Tidus has been a blessing. It is a growing process every day. It’s crazy how fast they grow, for sure.
SLAM: Dejounte, when people talk about the league’s hottest players, your name doesn’t come up as much as it should. Do you use any of these as inspiration?
DM I do this for the love of the game: from childhood playing in the neighborhood with my older uncles through AAU, high school, college. I’ve never failed at anything. I have always believed, “Don’t believe what they tell you.” Hard work and dedication will get you where you want to be. My motivation is where I come from. I wake up every day, knowing where I could be or worse, knowing where I am and how blessed I am, that’s all I need.
When my daughter can be in the gym watching me work hard and ask me, Dad, why do you work so much? And being able to explain that to my 5-year-old is an inspiration to me. People have got their own opinions and you should let them have them. I don’t fall in love with all that – the good, the bad. I just try to stay true to who I am.
Slam: Speaking of comments, a lot of people said in the summer that you two couldn’t make it work, but you always say you can. How were you sure you could play together?
TY: I think it’s because we both know what we bring to the table – the cerebral part of the game. We are both very good basketball players, knowing that we can both score [also] Knowing that we can both get involved and that we can both get our teammates involved. At the end of the day, it’s just basketball. A lot of people want to guess or think it won’t work. [Dejounte] He has a lot of skills, maybe, I don’t have. Maybe there are some things I can do that he can’t. We bring together and can create something special. We both know that and we both know that winning is all about us. That’s what brought him here.
DM For me, it’s just fuel for the fire. I like this kind of thing. I love skeptics. I like to make people eat their words without saying anything. As I always say, it really works. If you love Hope – like really, really love it – you’ll do whatever it takes to win. The main thing when I come here, Trey, is be yourself, but know that I’m here to help. Do you understand what I mean? I’m here to help. And that’s the point. Anything I can do in any way I can to help this team and help us get to the level we want to reach.
SLAM 241 is now available in this special gold metal edition and cover tee. Tap.
Portraits by Dewang Valdez.