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This NBA star always dreamed of being a teacher. So students in Brooklyn got the substitute teacher of a lifetime.

NBA star becomes a teacher for a day
NBA star Mikal Bridges fulfills dream of becoming a teacher by working at a school for a day 02:36

For most basketball players, making it to the NBA is the ultimate dream. But Brooklyn Nets star Mikal Bridges has another dream as well.

"My other dream was being a second grade teacher," the small forward told CBS News. "I think just helping kids has always been a big thing of mine." 

Why second grade? "Because I loved second grade when I was young," he said. "I feel like that was one of the years I really remember. Just having a great year. I had a great teacher named Ms. Porter and just I feel like I always loved second grade."

Growing up in Philadelphia, Bridges was inspired by Ms. Porter to follow that dream. He got to do that this month at PS 134 in Brooklyn, where he worked as a teacher for the day.

The Nets got in around 1:30 a.m. the night before, after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-101. The player had a long night, but he was committed to teaching those kids.

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Mikal Bridges in gym class with fourth graders at PS 134.  CBS News

"Their energy was just like, what got me going so fast. They got me excited," Bridges said.

He started the day playing basketball in gym class with fourth graders. The 6'6'' player, who was drafted to the NBA in 2018, organized a game of knockout for the kids and answered their questions. 

One student had a question that surprised him: "How do you incorporate your personal life with your professional life?"

"I like that [question]," he said. "It's not that bad, actually. I think the biggest thing is time. In season, you don't have that much time because I travel a lot. But I've been in it about for six years now, so I found a good balance hanging out with friends and relaxing and preparing for the games."

Her next question: If your family comes your games, do they get free tickets? His answer: Yes.

"Why didn't you be a teacher if you wanted to be?" another student asked.

"Because of basketball. But basketball doesn't go forever," he said. "This is just the first part of my journey, so I think teacher is going to come up next. Trying to do both."

After gym, he went to first grade music class. "They were teaching me on the little xylophone. I didn't know what I was doing ... what the teacher was teaching," he said. "The kid next to me was pointing at the board like, 'Follow that, follow that.' I'm like, 'Oh, ok. That makes sense.'"

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Trying out the xylophone in first grade music class. The students were playing "Baby Shark." CBS News


Many of the kids seized the opportunity to tell Bridges they too play basketball. On the playground at recess, they marveled at how tall he was and one stopped their ball game to ask Bridges for a hug.

At lunch, he answered the first graders' riddles. And then, he taught his favorite class — math. That's where, perhaps, his inclination for teaching others began.

"Math came easy to me. I feel like I was probably one of the smartest math kids in our class," he said, adding that when he was a kid, he'd help other students. "I'll try to teach them. Like, 'Oh, this is how I learned it and it's pretty simple to me this way. Just think of this way.'"

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Bridges instructing first grade math, reading a basketball word problem to students. CBS News

The kids couldn't get enough of their temporary teacher, Mr. Bridges. And while meeting an NBA star is a kid's dream, meeting these students fulfilled a dream for him.

"A lot of days, we're in school," he said. "And we're with our teachers and I think they just don't get enough credit. Because we're around them a lot, you know what I'm saying. And they help us become better people every day. And I think some are overlooked a little bit." 

Bridges says he hopes to become a teacher, or even a principal, after the NBA. 

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