Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Magic Johnson. Shaquille O’Neal. Kobe Bryant. Andre Ingram.
The Mount Rushmore of Los Angeles Lakers greats is ever-changing. With a long history of championship basketball with star-studded rosters, it’s difficult to pick just a handful of players to represent the Purple and Gold.
But every once in a while, a generational talent will fall in the laps of the Lakers. A player so special, so talented, that one can place him in the upper echelon of Lakers lore from the moment they step on the court.
Andre Ingram was that player.
Ingram’s story has been told plenty. A 10-year veteran of the NBA D-League, Ingram held on hope that he would one day get a call-up to the NBA where he could showcase his abilities in front of a national audience. Ingram endured poor pay in the developmental league, working as a math tutor in his spare time to help make ends meet for his family.
The guard finally got the call-up he wanted in 2018, signed to a contract for the final two games of the Lakers season. While the games were meaningless for the standings, they meant much more as the dreams of one man were finally accomplished.
Ingram averaged 12 points and 3.5 assists in his two contests with the Lakers. He hit on 47.1 percent of his shots from the field and 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts.
A career debut that was legendary in its own right made Ingram the first player ever to score 19 points while shooting better than 65 percent from the field and recording at least three blocks. Ingram did that against the Houston Rockets who had the best record in the league.
The mainstream media will not allow Ingram to get the shine he clearly deserves. With Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell spending half of their season arguing about what a rookie is, it’s unlikely that the 32-year-old will be in contention for the rookie of the year award. But deep in our hearts, we all know that it’s Ingram who “healed the heart of a city” and was a mix of Magic Johnson and LeBron James.
Ingram’s future in LA will be the focus of the offseason. The Lakers are hoping to sign star free agents in Paul George and LeBron James but it will be difficult to convince the All-Stars to come off the bench behind the Ingram cousins. That said, the thought of chasing rings on Andre Ingram’s coattails should be enticing enough to convince them otherwise.