Ten long years in the developmental league gave way an a record-setting Los Angeles Lakers and NBA debut for Andre Ingram on Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets. His performance left teammates, opponents and everyone in between awe struck.
And though Ingram reveled and appreciated the moment and opportunity presented to him, the 32-year-old couldn’t help but keep others in mind. Ingram made his first four shots, including three from 3-point territory, sending Staples Center into a frenzy.
Yet he viewed the personal moment as a team accomplishment. “To a man, everyone was like, ‘Man, when you get it just let it go.’ Everyone was like that. All the players, all the coaches. It was crazy,” Ingram said.
“To see the first one go in, I felt great. And for them I felt great, because a lot of people wanted me to do that. That was the best feeling about all of them going down, these guys were going crazy.”
Ingram was joined by his wife and their two young daughters who flew in from Virginia to watch the memorable night in person. Ingram was sure to credit his wife for allowing him to pursue his dream, no matter how long the odds seemed.
“Obviously the D-League, G-League is not a cash cow. So if at any point she was like, ‘OK, you chased it long enough, we need to do better.’ But she never said that, never even thought it,” he said. “She kept encouraging me. She’s been excellent.”
Ingram’s debut included a warm welcoming and message from Rockets point guard Chris Paul and “M-V-P” chants from the Staples Center crowd. “That was crazy,” he said of being serenaded. “I’m just glad the free throws went in, to be honest.”
Lakers head coach Luke Walton commended Ingram for seizing the moment while still playing within himself. Walton also said he felt the team could’ve done a better job in getting the ball to the all-time G League leader in 3-pointers made.
That was the further thing from Ingram’s mind, however. “It’s great what you’re doing but we’re playing a game, you’re trying to win and try to help your team,” he said.
“Guys are out here to play. They’re not out here for you, is what I was thinking. That part made it easier to stay singularly focused on the game.”