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

Sport is cruel sometimes.

Image: Kevin Hagen

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.

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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 origianlly held by the Miami Heat.

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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