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Three Things to Know About the Making of “ESPN Cover Story: Trae Young”

Writer Dotun Akintoye on the Atlanta Hawks' standout guard: "He’s the face of a franchise, an all-star with postseason success, and yet, he still feels like an open question. It’s a great time to take a look at him."

As the NBA heads into 2022 All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, the ESPN Cover Story profile of Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young debuts today on multiple platforms.

A two-time NBA All-Star selection in just his fourth season out of Oklahoma, Young led the Hawks to a surprising run to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals. Even as Atlanta fights for playoff contention this season, Young ranks fifth in the league in scoring (27.9) and fourth in assists (9.3).

(Cover photo: Temi Coker for ESPN)

ESPN.com writer Adedotun (Dotun) Akintoye tells Front Row what inspired his profile of Young; in the sidebar below, senior editor Susie Arth writes about Akintoye’s reporting.

What inspired this profile?
Akintoye: I think Trae is particularly interesting at this moment because as good as he is and has been, we’re still watching a 23-year-old who is developing in every way —on the court and off. He’s the face of a franchise, an all-star with postseason success, and yet, he still feels like an open question. It’s a great time to take a look at him.

How is Cover Story different from other projects you’ve worked on?
The challenge of Cover Story is keeping in mind its multiplatform nature from beginning to end. So, as you report, you’re constantly collaborating with editors and TV and podcast producers and photo editors to think about what works best for those respective mediums. That was a little daunting the first time I did a Cover Story, but the more of these I work on the more that becomes the most fun part of the process.

For more on this story, visit ESPN PressRoom

Cover Story Senior Editor Susie Arth's Take:

Arth: “The most interesting part of this Cover Story was Dotun’s early discovery that Trae Young the player and Trae Young the man are two very different people. Through his exhaustive reporting with people in Young’s inner circle, Dotun found that, away from the court, Young is not polarizing, he’s not some cold, combative figure. So we decided to lean into that reporting and structure the written piece in a series of snapshots — a first for Cover Story — to depict and explain how and why Young’s public persona is so different from his everyday reality.”

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