Mikal Bridges On ‘Podcast P With Paul George’

Mikal Bridges On 'Podcast P With Paul George'

Mikal Bridges talks about joining Team USA, what’s next for the Brooklyn Nets, and why Ben Simmons is poised for a major comeback on “Podcast P with Paul George”.

Today, we share highlights from this week’s episode of “Podcast P with Paul George”–presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment–featuring Brooklyn Nets star forward Mikal Bridges.

In the episode, Mikal looks back on the sting of being selected by his hometown team, the Philadelphia 76ers, only to be traded shortly after to the Phoenix Suns.

The guys also go into his mid-season Brooklyn Nets, what the future holds for the team and how he’s got “big faith” in Ben Simmons making a major comeback this year.

Lastly, Mikal talks about the excitement of joining Team USA for next month’s FIBA World Cup and how it was a “no brainer” to team up with Anthony Edwards, Brandon Ingram, coach Steve Kerr, and others.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

[10:00] MIKAL ON HIS DRAFT NIGHT, BEING PISSED OFF AT THE PHOENIX SUNS TRADE

PG:We know you had a crazy story being from Pennsylvania, you get drafted by the Sixers and then traded. Your mom worked for the Sixers at that point, right? Talk to us about that draft experience.”

MB:Crazy. And it’s wild because, stuff you dream for, you know what I’m saying? I think I never was like, I wanna go top 10. Like, no, I wanna go to the NBA and having that dream happen and actually being very pissed off, you know what I’m saying? Like not even appreciating the moment and that’s something it took me days to kind of get over it and like realize like I got like a wake up call. Like, come on, you’re top 10. I don’t care if you didn’t talk to anybody in Phoenix. You’re ultimately blessed like you should be grateful. But that night? If you see it’s so funny because I know how I smile and I know my facial expressions. If you see the pictures I got with the Phoenix hat on like the fakest smile in the world Like I was hot. Oh hot. I didn’t go out when we got back to the hotel. No, [I didn’t want to celebrate] I was pissed off. And I had this excuse, I’m like, oh I got an early flight tomorrow. I gotta go all the way to Phoenix because [we’re in] New York. I was pissed off, man.”

[12:20] MIKAL ON PLAYING WITH EDGE AGAINST THE SIXERS AFTER DRAFT NIGHT TRADE

Yeah [that was my hometown team growing up]. Especially the first couple of years I feel like I always played pretty good, and I just always had an edge. I always had an edge. But yeah, especially being in the East too, obviously you got sweat but being in Philly and playing there, like I was just so amped. Like I just know a lot of people in the crowd they know that night like a lot of them know. I’m just like, yeah, I’m [going to] make y’all feel [this] like fuck that. Like fuck y’all like everybody here.”

[14:40] MIKAL SHEDS LIGHT ON HIS MID-SEASON TRADE TO THE BROOKLYN NETS

[It was] Tough, really tough. In the summer KD [Kevin Durant] said he wanted to go to Phoenix. So it was kind of in the back of my head cause you know, we’re not dumb like if you want to come here, you know, I was going and Cam Johnson knew we was going. I know it ain’t, [Devin] Book[er] leaving and I don’t think it’s D.A. [Deandre Ayton]. I just got paid. So they gonna cut my 20 sent over there guys try to match his 40. Cam Johnson knew, like, listen, I haven’t got my contract yet so I’m just, I’m free. So they’re just going to throw me in there. So I kinda had it on my mind this summer. I play around a little bit so, like, I always made jokes to me and Cam, like, damn KD’s about to come here bro, pack your bags we’re out of here.

But then it died down and then the season came on just was not even [in my head] no more. And we went to Brooklyn, some Kyrie thing came out like we was about to play Brooklyn the day before and we was going to practice and some[thing] about Kyrie coming to Phoenix, then it brought back the memories of the summer and I’m like, oh shit like here we go. And then when the KD thing happened, I was just like, damn, I didn’t think that was really gonna happen, right?

Even when I got to Brooklyn that day before, when we was about to play him, I was fucking around like in the gym like this is my home, this is my home and I get fucking traded two days later. So it’s like some karma on my ass for that one. But yeah, literally fucking around dapping up the guys that work there like I’m gonna see you, bro.”

[19:41] MIKAL ON BEING ONE OF THE BEST DEFENDERS IN THE LEAGUE

I think what really helps me is that I know what defenders kind of think and I know – I think I’m one of the best defenders – like you, for example, you can’t have your hand out there and you know, your hand out there [is] getting a foul. And I just, that was like a big thing guarding people when I see even like really good defenders, they try to get too aggressive and I’m just like watching like, bro, like [James] Harden and all you guys, like as soon as you put your hand and touch him it’s over with. So now I’m taking that advantage. I know I’m like, these guys are gonna be aggressive. I dare you. Like I dare you get, get your hand like I’m taking a hit every single time, so it definitely is fun. But I think me being able to defend a lot, I kind of know what they’re kind of thinking and it helps me a lot.”

[31:55] MIKAL ON TEAMMATE BEN SIMMONS, INJURY AND WHAT TO EXPECT

Ben’s my guy. I got big confidence. I got big faith in [him] more this year. I think, you know, his back was messed up and him actually going [and] getting x-rays stuff and [doctors] telling him you have to get surgery. I think it kind of felt good for him. I think people didn’t believe him because he kind of was like the, you know, maybe he was in Philly like a little boy who cried wolf sometimes. So like he didn’t want to play or some shit. So now like he would say like, oh I’m hurt and people were like, man, fuck out of here. But now he’s actually hurt and people still don’t believe it. So he was actually hurt and now he’s getting surgery, he’s getting back. But he loved the game, bro.

One thing I always see and is just like, nothing crazy. I don’t even say to him, but he always has a ball in his hand. Like, even when he was out, he always has a ball in his hand. And we have like this little thing that goes on every time after halftime like the first guy out to go shoot and it’s at home or away. He’s like sitting in the chair with the ball and I get up and he throws me and I walk out. It was like this little routine thing that just randomly happened like we didn’t talk about it…I think he’s in a good place. You know, he fucks with all of us like we’re close. He’s the one talking in the chat all the time. Like he just feels that like he has fucking a lot of friends and we all fuck with him. Obviously we want him to score and stuff, but we ain’t not pressed about it. Like you just want him to be him, be aggressive and just play the right way.”

[40:14] MIKAL ON PLAYING FOR TEAM USA, NO BRAINER DECISION

MB:Steve Kerr brought up to me just like the idea of [Team USA] and I was just like, hell yeah, like I’m here, just please let me know. I kind of had the idea there and then ended up going to Brooklyn and playing really well and then see him again and talking about it and kinda at that point, I was like really ready for it. So um no, definitely I man there was nothing holding me back for that unless I was had some injury or something happen, but no I was ready. I’m very excited.”

PG:You know, I’ve stated how competitive the Team USA practices and stuff are you got a fun young lineup that’s gonna go out and compete for Team USA. Who are you most excited about playing with outside of Jalen?”

MB:Man, probably Ant[thony Edwards] or B.I. [Brandon Ingram]. Obviously, like some guys not even struggle, they make it tough for me to guard them because how tough they are. So I think them two guys are probably the biggest ones. I know how competitive they are and I know the motor on both of them. I know how freaking skilled they are. So kind of be around them, even learn from them as well. So, and just, you know, make some friends and you know geek about shit and be ready to go.”

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