Los Angeles Lakers: Andre Ingram finishes inspiring run

SOUTHAVEN, MS - MARCH 23: Andre Ingram
SOUTHAVEN, MS - MARCH 23: Andre Ingram /

Los Angeles Lakers 32-year rookie Andre Ingram was the talk of the town this week.

All yesterday, the story of 32-year old Los Angeles Lakers rookie Andre Ingram swept the nation. His story resonated with so many people because it captures the essence of the American Dream.

Here he is, ten years after entering the developmental league (now called the G-League), being called up to play in his first NBA game of his career. The determination, perseverance and character were all there with his story. Seeing him capitalize on that opportunity made it all the sweeter. In some ways, his story is a modern-day Rudy story.

It’s hard not to root for the American University product. He spent ten years in the developmental league waiting to get his shot at the big time. He collected a salary of about $19,000 just for this season in the G-League. According to Business Insider, his two-game payday will equal about $14,000 for his short stint with the Lakers.

It’s hard to imagine anyone more deserving of such a pay bump. Because he earned so little as he played in the G-League, Ingram spent time tutoring students in math to help support his wife and kids. He did what he could to pay the bills in order to continue chasing his NBA dream. When he finally got his chance on the NBA hardwood, Ingram made the most of it.

Andre Ingram was surprised to be called up to the LA Lakers during his exit interview for the South Bay Lakers, the G-League affiliate of the team. It was a surreal moment for Ingram, one that he described as “exciting”. He also had this to say, “For it to be real, it’s settling in now, but obviously it’s a bunch of enjoyment.”

Upon meeting the president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, Ingram gave his thanks for the opportunity. Johnson told Ingram to “Come on tomorrow and get ready, I want that 48 percent”, referencing Ingram’s three-point shooting percentage for the ’17-’18 season. Ingram was a career 46.1 percent three-point shooter in the G-League, per Basketball-Reference. Upon entering the game against the Rockets on Tuesday, he let it fly from deep quick.

Ingram broke out onto the NBA scene with a standout performance against the Rockets on Tuesday night. He posted 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting and 4 of 5 from three. He elevated and released the ball quickly over defenders closing out in several instances.

The crowd loved every minute of his performance, even showering Ingram with “MVP” chants as he was at the free-throw line. Ingram was incredibly encouraged by this. It certainly helped that all his teammates and even Chris Paul encouraged him to shoot whenever he touched the ball.

Ingram’s first experience in an NBA game was unlike most rookies’ experiences. In fact, his performance was quite historic. For a Lakers rookie in a debut game, Ingram scored the fourth most amount of points with 19 points.

Ingram got to play his second game as a Laker in the season finale against the co-tenants, the Los Angeles Clippers. Though he didn’t go off like he did against the Rockets, he still had a solid game.

More from Lake Show Life

Ingram tried to find his shot early but ended up shooting 2-of-9 on the night, including 1-of-4 from deep. He totaled five points but seemed to do everything else right despite his poor shooting night.

Ingram ended up posting a team-high plus/minus of +23 in his 35 minutes on the floor. He also dished out six assists, grabbed three rebounds and recorded two steals.

When asked after the game to describe the last 48 hours, he had this to say.

"“Just excellent. It was an amazing last few days. To think I wasn’t even going to be here, to think I’d be on a plane home to Virginia, but to instead be here living out a dream. It was just amazing to cap it off with a victory. Again, the reason we’re here to play basketball, we’re here to win games. To cap it off with a win, to have a special night last night, I mean what more could I have asked for, it’s just all good.”"

Ingram’s two-game stint with the Lakers has inspired many people. His story touched a wide variety of people with its sincerity and humility, that even included audiences of non-NBA fans who received the story warmly.

Here is Andre Ingram, 32-years old, finally living his dream. His story served as an example to many that dreams can still come true even if they arrive later than expected. After ten years in the developmental league, Ingram finally reached his goal of playing in the NBA.

With the season over now for the Lakers, it’s hard to say where Ingram will go from here. Perhaps they bring him back for the team’s Summer League in Las Vegas to evaluate him further. If he can show his stuff there, maybe he earns a minimum contract to come back next season.

His reliability from three is exactly what the Lakers need moving forward. The fast-paced space offense that the Lakers run relies on quality three-point shooters surrounding the arc.

Next: 50 Greatest Players In Lakers Franchise History

For all fans, including me, I know nothing would make us happier than to see Andre Ingram earn a contract with the Lakers for next season. If so, we can keep witnessing him living out his dream. To all naysayers, the American Dream is still alive.