Bryant, Paul praise Lakers' 10-year G League veteran Ingram after NBA debut
Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul led the praise for Andre Ingram after the 10-year G League veteran made his NBA debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Ingram, 32, went undrafted in 2007 and spent his entire career in the G League until he was this week signed for the rest of the season by the Lakers, making his first appearance in a 105-99 defeat to the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.
He is the G League's all-time leader in three-pointers made (713) and was four-of-five from beyond the arc as he dropped 19 points on the Rockets in a stirring maiden outing.
Lakers icon Bryant tweeted footage of Ingram's highlights and added the caption: "LOVE IT".
LOVE IT https://t.co/H80FOjRuhm-- Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 11, 2018
Paul, who top-scored with 22 points for the Rockets, spoke to Ingram - the subject of MVP chants from Lakers fans - at the scorers' table during the match.
When asked by reporters what their conversation was about, he said: "I told him much respect. 10 years grinding in the G League, finally get an opportunity and to play like that, that's pretty special."
Paul added in a post on Twitter: "The power of focus and persistence is real!! Congrats Andre Ingram on your NBA debut. Well deserved!"
The power of focus and persistence is real!! Congrats Andre Ingram on your NBA debut. Well deserved! pic.twitter.com/U1MY9F1LOI-- Chris Paul (@CP3) April 11, 2018
Ingram's team-mates Isaiah Thomas, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma were among those to laud Ingram's achievement on social media, with Damian Lillard and Jeremy Lin also offering kind words.
S/O to Andre Ingram... That was inspirational my brotha! Keep it going. God's got you!-- Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) April 11, 2018
Dre Ingram! I'm inspired!!!!!-- kuz (@kylekuzma) April 11, 2018
Ain't nothing but God my brother!!! Congrats to Andre Ingram!!!-- Kyle O'Quinn (@Kyle_OQuinn) April 11, 2018
Andre Ingram!! 10 years in the DLeague, gets a call-up, 11 points in first 6 min in the NBA! Anyone whose chased their hoop dreams can appreciate this...too good-- Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) April 11, 2018
Andre Ingram! What a story!!!!-- Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) April 11, 2018
Speaking to TNT, Ingram, who additionally works as a mathematics tutor for middle and high school students during the season, revealed his "bags were packed" as what he thought would be an exit interview turned into his first NBA deal.
"It was supposed to be an exit interview. I was prepared to go in there and talk about our G League season, and my bags were already packed I was supposed to leave the next afternoon I think," he explained.
"Talking to the coaches and we're having an interview like normal, then Rob [Pelinka, general manager] and Magic [Johnson, president of basketball operations] walk in and I knew something was up at that point.
"When Rob and Magic walked in, all the emotions you could think, I was like, 'This could be it.' I hadn't checked out mentally yet because I don't do that until I get home. It was amazing, it was everything you could think it was."