New York Knicks forward Josh Hart gained a side gig doing analyst work for ESPN during the NBA Finals pitting the Boston Celtics against the Dallas Mavericks. A reply by Brooklyn Nets swingman Mikal Bridges on his tongue-in-cheek post on Instagram of his new side hustle gained a savage response from Hart.

The two former college teammates at Villanova occasionally exchange subtle jabs at each other, usually in the forms of memes and some light-hearted zingers on podcasts.

Mikal Bridges tries to recruit Josh Hart in jest via Instagram post reply

Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges brings the ball up court against New York Knicks guard Josh Hart
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In a post on Instagram, Josh Hart posted a series of photos where he served as a guest analyst on ESPN's NBA Countdown with the caption “Might quit my day job” with a microphone emoji.

Mikal Bridges then invited Hart to join him with the Brooklyn Nets in jest. “Come to the Nets?” replied Bridges. However, Hart swiftly replied, “Are you okay? If they have you hostage just blink and we'll save you.”

Hart's reply may be a reference to him saving Bridges from the Nets and bringing him to the Knicks alongside their former Vilanova teammate Jalen Brunson. The three former Wildcats played together during the 2016 and 2018 NCAA national championship runs. Another former teammate, Donte DiVincenzo, is also playing with the Knicks.

Hart, Bridges, and Brunson were briefly reunited with Team USA at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

A brief history of Josh Hart trolling Mikal Bridges

Josh Hart has had a history of poking fun at Mikal Bridges, including the use of a SpongeBob Squarepants meme to describe the latter's situation in Brooklyn, prior to their teams' matchup last March. In the meme, Bridges was in the place of Squidward looking out the window, while the Knicks duo of Hart and Jalen Brunson were frolicking outside and happy.

Hart and the Knicks later defeated Bridges and the Nets after posting the meme. New York subsequently swept their season series.

On an episode of Hart and Brunson's podcast, the Roommates Show, in February, Bridges was asked whether he felt “FOMO” when seeing his old teammates at Villanova now playing with the Knicks. Hart then took off his hoodie to reveal his Knicks gear underneath. In the same episode, Hart made a not-so-subtle remark about wanting to recruit Bridges to the Knicks and reunite the four former Villanova teammates.

Nets, Knicks on diverging paths

The Nets finished with a 32-50 record and were four games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the last Play-In Tournament spot. In the team's first full season after trading away stars Kevin Durant and James Harden, they fired Jacque Vaughn after two seasons in February, then kept Kevin Ollie as interim coach for the remainder of the season.

However, the Knicks flourished this past season, behind the brilliance of Jalen Brunson and the supporting roles of Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart. They finished as the second seed with a 50-32 record but injuries decimated their lineup and led to their subsequent elimination in the second round at the hands of the Indiana Pacers.