The Los Angeles Lakers’ newest addition, Andre Ingram, is living proof that no one should ever give up on their dreams. For 10 years Ingram played in near obscurity in the NBA’s G League. For 10 years Ingram bounced around the G League playing for the Utah Flash, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Perth Wildcats and then the South Bay Lakers before his dream came true.
On April 9, at the tender age of 32, Ingram signed his first NBA contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the story doesn’t end there. Tuesday, with the Lakers taking on the Houston Rockets, Ingram was set to check into his first game when future Hall of Fame guard Chris Paul ran over to congratulate him.
“I told him I heard about his story and that grind is unbelievable,” Paul, who, like Ingram, is 32, told ESPN. “I told him ‘much respect.’ Ten years grinding in the G League, and to finally get an opportunity and to play like that, that is pretty special.”
It could’ve ended there. Ingram could’ve never checked into the game and the story still would have been pretty sweet, but Ingram wasn’t done. Ingram isn’t a stranger to hustle. For 10 years while traveling to small cities by bus and staying in affordable hotels to play in small gyms, Ingram also tutored kids in math just to keep his NBA dream alive. So when the referee waved Ingram into his first game, with his wife and two little daughters watching, Ingram had no plans to play it small.
Ingram nailed his first four shots and finished the night with 19 points and three blocks. At one point the Lakers crowd could be heard chanting, “MVP.”
“It was once in a lifetime,” Ingram, who was still in awe after the game, told ESPN.
Several teammates and players around the league took to social media to congratulate Ingram on his magical night
The performance was so inspired, it even got Lakers great Kobe Bryant out of his retirement recliner to tweet:
The Rockets won the game 105-99, but clearly Ingram won the night.