“Don’t get it twisted, I’m really excited to be here.” Those were the last words from Mikal Bridges in his introductory press conference in Brooklyn, shared with Cam Johnson.
There have been quotes swirling from the pair of 26-year-old wings about the emotional good-bye they had to say to the Suns. How each of the two would miss their friends, their homes, and the lives they had built in the only post-college life they had ever known in Phoenix. Bridges even said, just before Brooklyn’s Saturday night game, that the final gathering with he, Johnson, and their now-ex-teammates had a “Last Supper-type vibe.” (It’s unclear who, if anyone, was supposed to be Judas. Maybe Suns GM James Jones?)
However, it’s now clear that the weight of that good-bye to Phoenix has more to do with the type of people Bridges and Johnson seem to be, rather than a dreadful fear of coming to Brooklyn. This pair shares more admirable qualities in common than just height and the ability to shoot 40% from three, though the Nets will certainly be excited about those. Even if it was just in bits and pieces, their introduction to Brooklyn showed why they were so beloved in Phoenix, displaying the type of passion, charisma, light-heartedness that makes one a fan favorite. It’s only right that Bridges and Johnson are dubbed “the Twins”.
“So my rookie year I come in, Mikal is going into his second. And right off the bat...basically everything we did, we kind of did together. We worked out together, we chilled off the court together, we ate, watched film, whatever it may be,” said Cam Johnson, of his brotherly connection with Bridges.
The pair also had a little fun with Bridges’ iron-man streak, which technically ended with Brooklyn’s Thursday night victory over the Bulls. It was the first game he missed, not just over his five-year NBA career, but dating back to four seasons of college ball at Villanova. Bridges was asked how it felt to miss an NBA game, but Johnson couldn’t miss an opportunity to jump in:
“Man I will take this one. [Mikal] was shaking. ‘I got to get out there. I got to get out there.’ I’m like, ‘Calm down man’...So I’ll speak for him, I think that was a little hard for him. But he was like, ‘can we play tonight, can we play tonight?’”
Yet, not buried too deep underneath the playful chemistry only two genuine friends can emit, there is a deep seriousness about their craft that comes through, even in a room full of cameras and microphones.
Bridges provided some specifics when talking about his excitement for his new squad, repeating much of the initial speculation on how the group could look: ““I love it. Just a lot of size and just switching and just covering the paint...And it’s just clogging the lane and just helping each other, so on the defensive end I definitely love it.”
By the end of their press conference, no Nets fan had any doubt that Bridges and Johnson, as sore as their hearts might have been leaving Phoenix, were genuinely excited to be Brooklyn Nets. They were all smiles, and, if nothing else, showed that a little companionship can go a long way:
“There were a lot of jokes, especially in the summer when KD wanted to come here and we knew the pieces and who might be the ones that were gonna go. And us two were the main two. We always joked around and said at least we got us. At least we got us. And it happened, and still to this day, it’s like, at least I got my twin with me. That’s how it goes.” - Mikal Bridges
- Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson on joining the Nets (Video) - YES Network
- Nets’ Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson are a package deal - Brian Heyman - Newsday
- Mikal Bridges not shocked at Suns exit via Kevin Durant deal - Nick Friedell - ESPN