After almost two years surrounded by polemic, Miles Bridges is finally eligible again to play in the NBA. The Hornets forward’s suspension has come to an end and he’s expected to participate in November 17’s clash against the powerful Milwaukee Bucks.
The Michigan State product couldn’t hide his excitement when he attended the press on Thursday and revealed he feels like a little kid. “It feels good,” he admitted. “I’ve waited what, 588 days? So I’m just excited. I feel like the first day of school when I was a kid. So I’m just happy to get back.”
A year ago, the 25-year-old pleaded no contest to a felony domestic violence charge and received a sentence to three years of probation after agreeing a deal with the prosecutors, who assured he assaulted his then-girlfriend in front of their two children six months earlier. This meant that Bridges missed all of last season.
“A little bit of everything,” Miles expressed. “I wouldn’t say nervous because I’ve been doing this my whole life. I would say anxious because basketball has been my sanctuary, and for me to be away from it for a year, it’s kind of been hard on me. So I’m just happy to be back.”
After being selected as the 12th overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, the young forward has produced career averages of 13.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Back in July, Bridges agreed to a $7.9 million qualifying offer with the Charlotte franchise.
“I know a lot of people feel a way about me being back and I understand that,” he admitted. “And like I said before, I have to gain their trust back. So I’m just going out there and looking to play. I feel like if I can get us some more wins, I feel like people’s perspective will change a little bit on me. But I’m just trying to get out there and help the team as much as I can and I miss playing against these fans.”
Bridges is accused of throwing billard balls at his ex-girlfriend’s car while his children were inside the vehicle, that ended up with dents and a shattered windshield.
“It’s under review right now, so I can’t really talk about that,” the 25-year-old explained. “But on the court, though, I’ve been doing good, conditioning, putting up shots, working with my teammates, getting accustomed to how we play.”
While the Hornets are ‘comfortable’ with his return, the NBA explained how they are dealing with these disciplinary issues
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was asked to comment on Miles’ return in Charlotte during an interview, where he addressed how the league decides discipline.
“From my standpoint, I believe we have been consistent, in that we’re applying the same principles to every case. No fact pattern is exactly alike, and I think everybody is entitled to due process and a fair system, regardless of whether they’re in a union or not,” he assured.
Miles Bridges will make his return to the basketball floor today after 583 days of inactivity pic.twitter.com/ovNGVORLrP
— Hornets Coverage (@hornetscoverage) November 17, 2023
However, when referring to Bridges case, he explained that players are represented by the NBPA and go through a different process each time. “In this case, these players are represented by a strong union, and that’s a collectively bargained process. But unless you’re intimately into the facts of each case, you have to understand that the result is based on an investigation and a very deep understanding — at least the best we’re in a position to do so — to understand exactly what happened,” Silver said.
The commissioner then acknowledged how “everybody’s entitled to due process and everybody’s entitled to a fair hearing. To the extent there’s other things that we’re looking at, that’s an independent investigation and until there are findings there, it would be unfair to punish a player, or anyone, under those circumstances.”