NEW YORK (AP) — Mikal Bridges’ consecutive games played streak lives on, even after he was forced to miss a game last week for the first time in his NBA career.
Bridges was acquired by the Brooklyn Nets from Phoenix last Thursday in the blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant. The deal was approved by the league too late for Bridges to play that night in the Nets’ game against Chicago, so he had to watch from the bench and was listed as “inactive — trade pending” in the official box score.
But the league determined that because Bridges wasn’t eligible to play, it shouldn’t count as a missed game. So his streak, the longest active one in the league, reached 367 games when the Nets lost to the New York Knicks on Monday night.
Bridges said he wasn’t sure at the time what would happen to the streak.
“I wouldn’t really have cared, because I just would have been available for every game I was able to play in. So not like I missed a game where I could play,” Bridges said. “Maybe I’d have looked back and been hot, but I wasn’t really tripping too much.”
Bridges also never missed a game in college, playing in all 116 at Villanova. Cam Johnson, Bridges’ close friend in Phoenix who came with him in the trade, joked that Bridges was “shaking” at the idea of not being able to play Thursday.
“He was like, ’I’ve got to get out there, I’ve got to get out there,’” Johnson said.
Bridges can still play in 83 games this season, one more than an NBA team’s schedule. He had already played in 56 games with the Suns and the Nets had 27 remaining beginning Saturday.
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn recently said he wanted players to view themselves like Cal Ripken Jr., baseball’s career leader in consecutive games played, and be able to have their name written in pen in the lineup every night.
Now he has the NBA’s current version of Ripken.
“Some things as a coach you want don’t want to think about and that’s one of the things,” Vaughn said. “Like, you want your dudes available on a nightly basis and Mikal Bridges is a guy that takes pride in that. He’s done it his whole career, so when you’re thinking about game planning and what’s next for the team, when you can pen a guy in on a nightly basis, that eases the mind of a coach.”