There might not be more of a tell-tale sign of just how much Brooklyn Nets star Mikal Bridges left his mark on his former team — the Phoenix Suns — than the interactions he continues to have with his former teammates.
Suns guard Cameron Payne, for instance, has used Bridges’ somewhat patented three-point celebration (which he got from the San Diego Padres) since the latter was traded to Brooklyn.
Sometimes, however, that affinity shows in the form of some lighthearted ribbing.
Payne was referring to the Arizona Diamond Backs taking Game 1 of their series against the Philadelphia Phillies, which they lead 2-0 after taking Game 2 on May 23. It was Arizona’s fourth straight win in addition to Philly’s second consecutive loss.
Clearly, Bridges – who is an avid and vocal Phillies fan – was having none of it from Payne whom he refers to as “Turbo”.
The two spent three-plus seasons as teammates on the Suns who, virtually to a man, have expressed how he (and Cameron Johnson) will be missed in Phoenix or taken Payne’s preferred route this time and poke fun like big men Frank Kaminsky and Jock Landale both of whom ribbed Bridges’ prominence during the 2023 NBA Draft Combine.
Despite not being in the vicinity of the event held in Chicago, Bridges’ name was constantly in discussion with several young prospects mentioning him as someone whose career they’d like to emulate.
But Bridges’ influence reaches beyond the NBA world.
WNBA Star Hits Mikal Bridges’ 3-Point Celebration
Fourth-yer New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu scored just nine points in a win over the Indiana Fever on May 21. But she did it on the strength of 3-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc, a big improvement over her 2-for-9 showing in the season opener.
In the heat of the moment after one of her triples, Ionescu broke out Bridges’ increasingly famous celebration.
Bridges, of course, appreciated the gesture.
The celebration has now made its way through the Suns, saw Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns make an attempt at it, and spread to the women’s game.
Mikal Bridges’ Most Significant Impression
For all of the love that Bridges is receiving (even through imitation), his most important good impression has been made on Nets brass, namely general manager Sean Marks and head coach Jacque Vaughn.
So much so that the Nets are said to have no interest in moving him this offseason, not even for a top-3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
“We’re talking about a young man that’s growing in front of our eyes,” Vaughn said via the YES Network on April 22.
Bridges averaged over 26.0 points per game with the Nets, nearly doubling his previous career-high mark of 14.2 points per game over an entire season. He added 4.5 assists, 2.7 assists, and 1.0 steals while shooting 47.5% from the floor and 37.6% from beyond the arc.
It makes sense that Marks was reluctant to put a ceiling on what Bridges can become.
Bridges is still just entering his prime, set to turn 27 years old in August, and is on a very cap-friendly four-year, $90.9 million contract that has him locked up through the 2026 season.