Perhaps you’ve heard of the birthday paradox. It’s the chance equation stating that when you have 23 random folks in the identical room, there’s a 50 % likelihood that a minimum of two of them will share the identical birthday. Sounds wild, proper?
Should you assume that’s loopy, wait till you hear in regards to the Atlanta Hawks’ backcourt. All-star guards Trae Younger, 24, and Dejounte Murray, 26, not solely share the identical birthday, September 19, however their demeanors additionally mirror one another. Each are offensive assassins with unselfish tendencies on the court docket. Each are loving fathers at residence. Each are perfectionists who acknowledge they’ve had some early season taking pictures struggles. Each are problem-solvers who know what must be carried out to get on Boston’s stage within the East. Should be a Virgo factor.
The Atlanta Hawks can’t clarify any of it. They simply hope town’s first NBA Finals look is being manifested within the cosmos. Scientific anomaly or pure coincidence, the truth that these birthday twins are standing in the identical health club, carrying the identical Hawks jerseys and posing for a similar SLAM cowl at this very second is only one signal that the crew is on target. The 2 guards sat down the day after a tricky loss to speak household, focus and, in fact, basketball.
SLAM: We’re informed that at this time is your first true off day in a minute. Should you weren’t doing this interview and photograph shoot, what would a typical off day seem like?
TRAE YOUNG: I’d spend it with my household. I’d spend it at residence. In case you have a few days between video games, you positively wish to discover a method to get away from basketball, whether or not it’s spending time with your loved ones, going to a film or no matter it’s. For me, personally, I simply assume it helps your thoughts to flee it for a bit bit, as a result of basketball might be daily. Generally it’s good to have an off day the place you may get away from it.
DEJOUNTE MURRAY: For me, I acquired my household out right here with me [too]. I really like being round my household. You already know, I’m a homebody, so I all the time fall into the lure the place I flip basketball on and simply sit there and watch a bunch of video games across the League. However primarily, [I’m with] my household, watching motion pictures. Like [Trae] stated, attempting to flee from it, as a result of basketball is one thing that we do daily. And while you get them off days, you gotta make the most of being with your loved ones as a result of we’re away from them for a very long time.
SLAM: You had a tricky loss towards Boston. How do you replicate after a sport like that? Do you watch movie instantly?
TY: I’d do it proper after the sport, recent off of it. I imply, I in all probability can’t sleep, so it’s no motive to only sit there and watch the rest. You would possibly as nicely simply go put again on the sport and study from it. Inside the subsequent day, it’s overwith, so that you gotta prepare for the following day or the following crew. The NBA’s so quick. You’ll be able to’t maintain on to a loss or a win for too lengthy.
DM: After I acquired residence, I ate dinner and I used to be capable of watch the sport. I used to be telling Trae, simply understanding how the sport went and what number of threes they hit, it’s early [in the season] they usually confirmed us that we’re a brand new crew. We acquired so much to study, work on and get higher at. They’ve been collectively. However it’s no excuse. We misplaced. However like he stated, you progress on. We play once more Saturday after which on Monday. You’ll be able to’t actually simply keep put in a single place, on one crew. You win, you lose and you progress on to the following one.
SLAM: Talking of younger groups, how would you assess how issues have gone to this point?
DM: I do know that I could possibly be method higher.
I do know he could possibly be method higher. It’s one thing that we speak about, whether or not we’re texting, heading to observe or on the airplane. Simply looking for methods to push one another and get the very best out of one another. But in addition ensuring our crew is concerned and ensuring that we’re doing it as an entire. So, the grade? We’re nowhere close to the place we needs to be, which is ok. It’s early and it’s an extended yr. And I consider that we’ll get to the place we belong.
TY: I feel it’s going as easily as it may be. I imply, it’s a brand new crew. We acquired new items, items which can be enjoying main minutes and [serving] main roles for us. I feel, even in a few of our wins, we haven’t performed nearly as good as we needed to. I feel that is an adjustment interval. I’m fairly comfortable the place we’re at proper now, however I do know we acquired an extended method to go. We each speak about it, like he stated, about what we should be higher at and what we might be higher at. However I feel it’s simply part of this adjustment interval of being with new teammates, considering you wish to be the very best for the man subsequent to you. You wish to make it as straightforward as doable for the following particular person. However as we preserve enjoying extra video games, it simply turns into pure.
SLAM: Trae, you knew Dejounte earlier than the commerce. What have you ever realized about him that you just didn’t know earlier than turning into teammates?
TY: It wasn’t actually an excessive amount of that I didn’t already know, simply from our conversations and us speaking. As quickly because the commerce occurred, having the ability to go as much as Seattle, enjoying in that pro-am collectively, after which having the ability to have dinner that night time, chop it up and get to know him much more [was great]. We have been lucky sufficient to essentially get to know one another a bit bit earlier than the season. So, now that the season is right here, we’re not centered on [getting to know each other]. I imply, that’s going to be a spotlight all yr, however that’s not on the forefront. We’ve already gotten to know one another. We’ve frolicked with one another. We all know what we like and don’t like. We all know how we’re household folks. It’s been nice to this point. We simply gotta preserve going ahead.
SLAM: Dejounte, have you ever realized something about Trae?
DM: He’s chill. He’s clean. He’s acquired swag. I’ve informed him earlier than that I’ve been a fan since he was in highschool. He’s youthful than me. I’m that a lot concerned in basketball and the sports activities world [that I noticed him]. Simply being round him, I be seein’ him swaggin’. He likes his Chick-fil-A. Simply studying all that stuff. It’s dope that we have been capable of do it earlier than coaching camp. It wasn’t identical to, Oh, we acquired to camp and now we attempting to get to know one another and have conversations. It was instantly.
SLAM: Anytime you look courtside at a Hawks sport, you’re gonna see 2 Chainz, Lil Child, whoever. Inform me in regards to the Atlanta you’ve gotten to know over the previous few months.
DM: It’s what I anticipated. We got here and performed right here final yr. One factor I do is take a look at the arenas, the followers and simply the tradition wherever we’re enjoying as a result of it’s totally different in every single place. One factor that stood out to me final yr [in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena] was that you can really feel the environment and really feel a unique tradition simply enjoying within the sport. And like I stated, I watch quite a lot of hoops. After I’m watching these video games, you see how a lot enjoyable the crew’s having. But in addition, you’ll be able to see how concerned the followers are. And clearly, all of the celebrities popping out, exhibiting that they love watching hoop and that they love the Hawks simply makes it higher for us as an entire, representing Atlanta, Georgia.
SLAM: Trae, you latterly grew to become a father. How have you ever modified because the delivery of your son?
TY: I feel all people who has a child understands the way it simply places issues into perspective for you. Sure issues that have been necessary to you might not be as necessary. Or some issues that have been necessary, you make them much more simply because your son or daughter is right here. For me, simply having Tydus has been a blessing. It’s been a rising course of daily. It’s loopy how briskly they develop, for certain.
SLAM: Dejounte, your identify doesn’t come up as a lot because it ought to when folks speak about essentially the most thrilling gamers within the League. Do you utilize any of that as motivation?
DM: I do it for the love of the sport, since I used to be a child enjoying with my older uncles within the neighborhood all the way in which to the AAU, highschool, faculty to now. I by no means fell into none of that. I all the time believed in, “Don’t consider the hype.” Exhausting work and dedication are gonna get you to the place it is advisable be. My motivation is the place I come from. Every day I get up, understanding the place I could possibly be or it could possibly be worse, understanding my state of affairs and the way blessed I’m, that’s all of the motivation I want.
My daughter having the ability to be within the health club and seeing me work exhausting and ask, Dad, why you’re employed a lot? and having the ability to clarify that to my 5-year-old is motivation for me. Individuals acquired their very own opinions and also you gotta enable them to have that. I don’t fall in love with none of that—the nice, the unhealthy. I simply attempt to keep true to who I’m.
SLAM: Talking of opinions, over the summer time, quite a lot of of us stated you two couldn’t make it work, however you all the time stated you can. How have been you so assured that you can play collectively?
TY: I feel it’s simply because we each know what we deliver to the desk—the cerebral a part of the sport. We’re each actually good basketball gamers, understanding we will each rating however [also] understanding we will each get one another concerned and each get our teammates concerned. It’s simply basketball on the finish of the day. Lots of people needed to overthink it or assume it simply can’t work. [Dejounte] has so many abilities that, possibly, I don’t have. There’s some issues that, possibly, I try this he can’t. We deliver it collectively and it might kind one thing particular. We each know that and we each know that profitable is all that issues to each of us. That’s what he was introduced right here to do.
DM: For me, it’s simply gasoline for the hearth. I really like that sort of stuff. I really like the doubters. I really like making folks eat their phrases with out me having to say a factor. Like I’ve all the time stated, in fact it’s going to work. Should you love hoop—like actually, actually find it irresistible—you’re going to do no matter it takes to win. My essential factor once I got here right here was, Trae, be your self, however simply know I’m right here to assist. You get what I’m saying? I got here right here to assist. And that’s the principle factor. No matter I can do to assist this crew and assist us attain the degrees we wish to attain, we’re gonna try this by any means.
Portraits by Diwang Valdez.