The 76ers drafted a hometown player and it was the feel-good story of the NBA Draft — until he was traded minutes later

ESPNAfter playing his college ball at Villanova, Mikal Bridges was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers and set to be the feel-good story of the NBA Draft, right until the moment the Sixers traded him away.
  • Villanova’s Mikal Bridges was briefly the feel-good story of the NBA Draft, having been selected with the 10th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • The pick meant Bridges would stay local, starting his professional career with his hometown team that also happens to employ his mother as a VP of Human Resources.
  • But just minutes after Bridges expressed how excited he was to join the Sixers, news broke that he had been traded to the Suns, making for a brutal introduction to the realities of professional basketball.

The storybook ending had finally come true for Mikal Bridges.

After winning two NCAA championships with the Villanova Wildcats, Bridges was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 10th overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night. He was a local boy done good – hailing from Malvern, Pennsylvania, just a few minutes from Philadelphia, Bridges would be staying home to start out his professional career.

When NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the pick, Bridges and his mother Tyneeha Rivers, who works for the Sixers as VP of Human Resources, were visibly delighted with how the night had played out.

“They took a chance on me, and I’m just happy – it’s a blessing,” Bridges said in his interview with ESPN just after leaving the stage. “I’m so excited. He’s coming home to be a part of our Sixers family. It’s amazing,” added Rivers.

And then, minutes later, the Sixers traded him away to the Phoenix Suns.

It was a brutal turn of events, one made all the more painful by the clear pleasure delight Bridges was taking in the moment, and the fact that he was clearly a bit late to getting the message that he would be shipping off to the Suns instead.

It was also a rather awkward turn for the Sixers’ social media team, which had tweeted out numerous messages welcoming Bridges home to the City of Brotherly Love.

Welcome home sixers@Sixers / Twitter

The Sixers quickly scrubbed their feed of the tweets, replacing Bridges’ messages of welcome with similar tweets towards Zhaire Smith, whom the Sixers had received in exchange for Bridges along with a 2021 first round draft pick origially held by the Miami Heat.

Philadelphia reporters were caught stunned with the news on air.

The script is still unwritten for both Bridges and Smith, but for now, it’s tough not to feel for a young player who thought that his dream draft scenario had just played out before him, only to immediately learn of the cutthroat nature of the NBA just minutes into his professional dream becoming a reality in the harshest way possible.

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