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July 5, 2021

Mikal Bridges

Phoenix Suns

Media Day

Q. Mikal, your team trusts you on a nightly basis to guard the most difficult wing out there. I'm curious, from your experiences covering Khris Middleton this season, the biggest challenges he presents and what tendencies you'll be looking out for?

MIKAL BRIDGES: He just -- he's an All-Star. He has a lot of game. He's tough. You've just got to watch film and know his tendencies a little bit and make it tough for him. He can shoot it, which makes it tough because you've got to pick up a little bit higher, good handle, loves his mid-range game and can finish. So just kind of picking spots on him and trying to make it tough for him, but he's really talented. It's going to be tough.

Q. This seems to be a very vocal group of guys. Just in terms of calling you up rather than calling you out, what kind of trust do you need in one another to be able to speak up to each other, accept what the other person is saying, just knowing that it's all for the betterment of the team?

MIKAL BRIDGES: You know that nobody's out here to be disrespectful or embarrass you. So, we all know that, so it's just kind of like we're on you because of what we want. We want to win, and I've got to get on you so you can be better so we all can be better. There's never no upset with each other. It's just tough love, and sometimes you might be mad because you're not playing at the level you want to play at, and you might get frustrated, but then when it's over, you kind of tap the person up and say, my fault for being mad. I was tripping. And we're like, You're good. We're all together.

So, we just stay together, and that's what we do.

Q. Congratulations on making it to the Finals. My co-worker had a chance to catch up with your mom and Cam Payne’s mom after Game 6 at the Staples Center. I'm wondering if you had a chance to see that video, and just what does a basketball mom mean to you? How has she been instrumental in your career so far?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Thank you. Me and C. Payne, we actually saw it together, so it was pretty funny. We were crying about it -- crying as in laughing, not actually tears.

Basketball moms are great. They do a lot. They're usually the ones with the cars packed as kids with all your friends in there to take you to the games and taking you to get food, taking you this and that. So, they're unbelievable, and they're there no matter what. They're there for long road trips. So, they're great, and I'm just happy that my mom is one of them great moms, and I'm just blessed.

Q. How do you feel with your journey as a basketball player from big trade on draft night, the bubble, and now the Finals?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Thank you. It's been a journey. It's been wild ever since draft night, and it's great. I'm happy I'm here. The bubble as well, just kind of not knowing, even with COVID, just the world and NBA, trying to find something to bring back the season and doing something like the bubble that never happened before. So just going there not knowing what was going to happen kind of seemed like AAU all over again, but you're older and professional. So, it was different but it was fun at the same time.

Going 8-0 made it a little bit more fun and kind of built us as we got closer down there because we saw each other every day, and it got us to where we're at right now. Obviously, adding key players helped too, but I think just building connections as a team and getting close with the guys that were already here kind of made a stamp that we're a family. Then when a guy's coming in knowing they're coming here to win and join a family.

Q. Mikal, what can change from the game plan if Giannis plays or not in Game 1, and what are your expectations for these NBA Finals?

MIKAL BRIDGES: We always scout. We always scout for Giannis. Obviously, he's the head of the snake. If he does or does not play, we're going to be prepared. We know how really good he is, actually how great he is, and we've just got to prepare. If he plays or doesn't play, we're going to be fully prepared. We're going to be ready.

For the Finals, we just -- we're going to be ready, man. Obviously, both teams want to win, and we're going to do whatever it takes. So, we're just going to go out there, it's going to be a battle, and we're just going to play our way and just try to play Suns basketball for 48 minutes. If it gets us the win, then we win. If they beat us at our best, then kudos to them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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