This NBA player had to wait 10 years to live his ultimate dream
WASHINGTON (Circa) -- Andre Ingram has always loved the game of basketball.
"When I was young just like any other kid you just fall in love with the sport. You're enjoying the sport, it's fun. Your friends are playing, there's nothing on the line," Ingram told Circa in an interview.
The Richmond native excelled in the sport and played college basketball for his alma mater American University. He was able to start his professional career after graduating in 2007 with the Utah Flash. The team played in the G-League, the NBA's version of the minor leagues.
The goal for many players in the G-League is to eventually advance to the NBA. Ingram recalled days when he would constantly pay attention to the box score and his stats as basketball became less of a hobby and more of a business endeavor. But as Ingram's career continued to progress, he never got the call to join an NBA roster.
His previous fate changed in April after the Los Angeles Lakers surprised him and called him up to play in the last two games of the season. Ingram would become the oldest NBA rookie at the age of 32 and finally would get an opportunity to play in the big leagues after waiting for 10 years. Ingram describes the moment he played his first NBA game ever as "electric."
"You just feel the electricity of the crowd and it just gets you in that feeling where like you wanna go, you wanna do it," Ingram said. "You're nervous of course. It's your first NBA game, it's your dream. You're nervous but it's like man, I'm nervous and let me see if I can do it, let me see if I can do it."
Ingram says he continued to push himself to attempt to get into the NBA because of the love he has for the sport. He hopes anyone who hears his story is encouraged to never give up on their dreams.
"It's gonna come a time where you want to go the other way or do something else. I just believe that there is something that will be waiting to pull you back in. My advice is listen to that," Ingram said.
The story got even better for Ingram as he surprised fans all over the world who were watching. He scored 19 points in his debut game. In Lakers history, only Magic Johnson, Nick Van Exel and Jerry West scored more in their first game, according to ESPN.
He also scored more points in his first game than other NBA all-stars such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.
Ingram was the G-League's best three point shooter and in his first game, he was able to transfer those skills and score four three pointers throughout the game against the league's best team (records wise) - the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers shooting guard is a restricted free agent. He is waiting for the team to make decisions on free agency during the off-season but is hopeful he will get a call back once again. The Lakers are in contention to acquire free agents such as Paul George and LeBron James.
James was one of the many people who shouted him out on social media after Ingram shocked the world with his performance. Ingram didn't realize how much reach his story had.
"My wife and I share a Facebook account. We don't have any Twitter, we don't have any Instagram, we don't have anything else," Ingram told Circa. "We were unaware of how many people knew of the story, how many people were touched by it, how far it had gotten out. We just didn't know. But obviously we have family and my brother and my niece kept us up to date when LeBron said this or Kevin Hart said this or Fabulous said this.....it's crazy man, I've just been so appreciative of the positive support."
Deadline reports Ingram is signed to Hollywood agency WME. His story of perseverance could be turned into a book or a movie. Ingram hopes to be able use his story in some type of way to inspire people.
"Friends and I used to say, 'who would you want to play you in a movie?' This is when I'm younger and everybody said Denzel (Washington). So when somebody asked me that, and this is years ago, I think I was probably in college or something I was like, well you know what - Derek Luke," Ingram said.