Imagine being 32 years old, spending 10 years in the NBA G League, and finally getting called up to the NBA with two games left in the regular season.
That was the life of new Los Angeles Lakers guard Andre Ingram, who signed a 10-day contract on Monday. Ingram made his debut on Tuesday night, and he lit the Rockets up for 19 points on 6-of-8 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range in 29 minutes.
It was a feel good story Charles Barkley said made every NBA player proud.
The 32-year-old made his presence felt early as he entered the game with 1:53 left in the first quarter. However, Ingram's first NBA points would come in the second quarter on a three-point attempt as he knocked it down in the face of Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute.
It was a special moment for the American University graduate, who made 713 threes in the NBA G League. Ingram was not done scoring as he knocked down his second consecutive three-pointer, sending the Lakers’ bench and Staples Center crowd into a frenzy.
Then in the third quarter, Ingram made another three-pointer to give the Lakers a two-point lead over Houston.
The rookie continued his hot shooting from distance in the waning moments of the game, making a crunch time three.
From a historical perspective, the 32-year-old rookie is in a class of his own, being the oldest player to score 15 plus points in an NBA debut.
Oldest players to score 15+ points in an NBA debut since 1963-64 (as far back as @bball_ref records go):— Dan Feldman (@DanFeldmanNBA) April 11, 2018
1. Andre Ingram, age 32
2. Dino Radja, age 26
3. Ron Anderson, age 26
Aforementioned, Ingram spent the last few seasons in the G League with the South Bay Lakers, where he was a three-point assassin. This season with South Bay, he averaged 9.1 points but shot a G League best 47.5 percent from three-point range.
After the game, Ingram joined Inside the NBA on TNT, discussing how he found out he got called up by the Lakers.
“It was actually supposed to be an exit interview. I was prepard to go in there and talk about our D-League season. And my bags were already packed ... and then Rob [Pelinka] and Magic [Johnson] walked in. I knew something was up. When Rob and Magic walked in, all the emotions you would think. I was like, this could be it.”
On Twitter, G League alums Sean Kilpatrick, Jeremy Lin along with Lakers’ point guard Isaiah Thomas took notice of Ingram’s performance.
Andre Ingram!! 10 years in the DLeague, gets a call-up, 11 points in first 6 min in the NBA! Anyone whose chased their hoop dreams can appreciate this...too good— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) April 11, 2018
S/O to Andre Ingram... That was inspirational my brotha! Keep it going. God’s got you!— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) April 11, 2018
It is great to see dreams come true for a guy in Ingram, who did not give up. While he spent a majority of his time in the G League and overseas in Australia for a short time. Ingram will never forget his NBA debut on Tuesday night.
He’s got one more game at Staples Center against the Clippers before the season is over. Judging by how he played against the Rockets, it’s a safe bet Ingram will try to leave his mark on the season finale.