Most NBA stars get into the league from college in their early 20s and on a rare occasion, some even arrive straight from high school, but this route is much different.
Meet 32-year-old Andre Ingram.
A guy who came into the NBA G-League ten years ago and has roamed around travelling the width of the United States by bus and plane, staying in affordable hotels with one year in Australia playing for the Perth Wildcats all whilst tutoring youngsters in math to get a bit of extra money just to keep his NBA dream alive.
A lot of people thought that his NBA dream would never be a reality, especially when he hit 30. Only one man kept that belief. And good things come to those who wait.
And on Tuesday night, in the Los Angeles Lakers’ penultimate game of the season against the Houston Rockets, Ingram’s dream was realised. After an exit meeting with the Lakers’ G-League affiliate the D-Fenders that led to the call-up, the minor league veteran checked in late in the first quarter with Rockets guard Chris Paul about to do the same thing.
Paul, who is also 32 had to get a message across to Ingram.
“I told him I heard about his story and that grind is unbelievable,” said Paul via 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.”
Ingram wanted to make an impact. And he sure did that.
Afterwards, despite the loss, Ingram was reportedly at a loss for words when he approached the media for post-game chats.
“It was once in a lifetime,” said Ingram, who holds the record for most three-pointers in the G-League.
“It’s been a joy. Ten years in the D League, but it wasn’t like 10 hateful years or years I didn’t enjoy. I enjoyed my time in the league and all of my teammates, and I heard from every one of them.”