Mikal Bridges believes Nets fans have accepted him not only because of his performance on the court, but also because he brought a culture change after years of drama involving Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant. In an interview with The Pivot podcast, hosted by former NFL players Channing Crowder, Fred Taylor and Ryan Clark, Bridges talks about the situation he entered when he was traded from Phoenix to Brooklyn in February (hat tip to Nets Daily).
“I think Brooklyn some had a lot going on. They had Kyrie, Harden and KD and then all that happening … and like Kyrie and stuff,” Bridges said. “I think (fans) were ready for a refresh, and I’m like the total opposite of them dudes. I’m just like, the quietest, chillest. I ain’t trippin’ off nothin’, so I’ll just (be) this happy all the time. So I was just like, I knew I was gonna be fine for sure.”
Bridges said he was thrilled that the trade gave him a chance to play in the New York City spotlight. He adds that the deal didn’t catch him off guard because he knew Phoenix was among Durant’s preferred destinations when he made his first trade request last June.
“Me, I always love New York,” Bridges said. “So when even when the whole situation happened in the summer when KD asked for a trade he wanted to come here. Me and Cam Johnson knew, ‘Well, obviously we’re going to be a part of that.’ Like we just knew KD wants to come here. We’re gonna so just make jokes like, ‘Oh, we’re going to Brooklyn’ but like, I love New York. I thought I was gonna get drafted No. 9 by the Knicks and I was prepared to not live in the city but I was prepared to be in the city. I was very excited about living in New York.”
Bridges touches on a few more topics during the podcast, including:
How he’s been able to improve his game throughout his five years in the NBA:
“Everybody will ask me like, well, like, ‘what’s the secret? How you get better?’ I’m like, ‘It’s just work out.’ I just work out every day, I just work out. I mean, I don’t kill myself, but I work out and I just get better. I think there’s no secret to it. I just, just work out and work on my game and try to get stronger and just keep trying to go up and I think that’s the easiest thing.”
How he was able to avoid the gun culture that has derailed Ja Morant‘s career:
“My mom don’t play none of that. If I bring somebody around my mom, she would be, ‘Nah.’ That’s just how it is. Like people are scared of my mom like she don’t play, know that, and as I got older now it’s funny because I feel like I’ll tell her all the time, ‘I’m really becoming you,’ ’cause she’s human resources, like she has to fire people all the time. She has to be that boss lady.”
His expectations for next season as the Nets’ new leader:
“I just think coming into the preseason to the team we’ll have– obviously, it might be a little bit different when the time comes, you never know, we got free agents and stuff like that. Just be the leader and come in and just know like, all I care about is winning. If I’m still one of the main guys trying to do everything, it ain’t about me.”