In his short time in the NBA, Phoenix Suns rookie Mikal Bridges is already making a powerful impact. The sharpshooting 22-year-old continues to help a struggling offense that has sorely needed a player like him for years. Bridges is already standing out as a steady contributor off the court too.
Bridges and the Suns recently launched a monthly program called Bridges’ Brightest Ballers to reward young athletes who are also exhibiting success in their classrooms and communities. Through the program, Bridges hosts one student every month during the regular season as his guest at a Suns game.
On November 30, the first student selected for the honor met Bridges at center court before the game, receiving a custom jersey, front-row seats and the knowledge that hard work pays off, whether in sports, academics or community service. Bridges’ Brightest Ballers not only receive a variety of perks at the game and opportunities to engage with the team, but they are also invited to join Bridges for a special day away from basketball at the end of the season.
Bridges knows the importance of making himself an asset in more than one capacity. He’s expanded his skill set beyond just shooting to now include lockdown defensive ability. And his work in the community extends beyond just one monthly program. Bridges recently partnered with Helping Hands for Single Moms, a Phoenix-area organization that provides resources and other assistance to single mothers. On December 7, Mikal and his mother surprised a family supported by the organization with holiday gifts, which included an iPad and a trip to Disneyland.
Taking initiative as a rookie is a quality coaches often praise regardless of the sport. Taking that initiative from the court and applying it in the community is perhaps even more praiseworthy. A Philadelphia native and two-time NCAA national champion with the Villanova Wildcats, Bridges is taking full advantage of his growing resources by giving back to his new neighbors in Arizona.