The way Los Angeles Lakers rookie Andre Ingram started his NBA career with a 19-point game against the Houston Rockets was the type of sports story so empathy-inducing that it would be rejected as too unrealistic if pitched to a movie studio.
At 32 years old and in his first taste of NBA action, Ingram hit four threes on five attempts, a long-distance record for a Laker in their first game with the league’s most successful franchise.
The whole night was like something out of a sports movie, and was even able to catch the eye of future Hall-of-Famer and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. As such, he raved about Ingram’s performance to Sam Amick of USA Today:
“Dude, (the story is) ridiculous. Like, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? I mean to have the courage and resolve to stick with that dream, and to now get your shot and to come through in that way? I mean, that’s impressive, man.”
It was so impressive that Bryant wouldn’t rule out the idea of his fledgling film production studio turning Ingram’s Hollywood debut into a Hollywood story:
“Yeah, maybe,” he said with a laugh. “Who the hell knows, right?”
Ingram’s debut was the type of game that makes sports so special. He had Staples Center rocking, and it was easy to imagine the inspirational theme music for the hypothetical movie rising as he walked off the court after the game and was individually high-fived and hugged by each of his teammates, who went crazy every time he scored.
After the Lakers’ season concluded, Ingram was tabbed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium.
While Ingram’s movie moment will probably have to wait at least a few years, his story being inspiring enough to resonate with basically the whole world and Bryant included is a huge achievement for the best shooter in G League history, and surely a memory he’ll savor for the rest of his life.