Prior to his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Laker forward and No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram was already put into the spotlight.
Ingram was given Kobe Bryant’s old locker in the locker room at the Lakers’ training facility, an unenviable position to be in.
However, Ingram seems to be handling the pressure with grace, talking about replacing Bryant during his press conference.
Ingram smiles when asked about having Kobe’s locker. “Mitch told me I have some big shoes to fill.”
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) July 5, 2016
Brandon Ingram: “I did see where my locker was and definitely knew it was Kobe’s locker…I like the pressure that’s on me right now.”
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) July 5, 2016
“I can only do what I do well. There’s no other Kobe Bryant” – Brandon Ingram on the pressure to replace Kobe
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) July 5, 2016
The shadow of Kobe Bryant will hang over the franchise for years to come, but the burden to have success in the post-Kobe era will not fall on any one player. With the selections of Ingram and D’Angelo Russell in consecutive years and Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and others willing to carry their share of the load, the Lakers appear to be in good hands going forward.
Still, Ingram has the type of mentality necessary to handle the situation. In a media market like Los Angeles for a team like the Lakers, embracing the pressure while also recognizing he can’t be the “next Kobe Bryant” is the perfect mindset to have going forward. Considering Ingram is just 19 years old, it’s an incredibly mature way of handling the situation.