“MVP, MVP, MVP,” the Lakers crowd chanted as Andre Ingram went up for his first ever NBA free throw attempt.
The rookie showed no nerves. Ingram scored 19 points, assisted once, rebounded thrice, stole once, and blocked thrice in his 29-minute professional debut. He sunk each of his three free throw attempts, four out of five three-point attempts and six out of eight field goal attempts, all at the ripe age of 32.
The Lakers signed Ingram for the final two games of the 2017–18 season on Monday in a rather feel-good fashion.
Ingram thought he was called in for an exit interview with the South Bay Lakers, the L.A. Lakers’ G-League affiliate, where he played during the 2017–18 G-League season, until L.A. Lakers manager Rob Melinka and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson walked in.
You stay on the grind and at the end of your 10th year, you finally get the call.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 10, 2018
“I knew something was up at that point,” Ingram told the NBA on TNT panel. “It was amazing.”
An NBA contract eluded Ingram as he showed some serious potential during his G-League tenure. He is the G-League all-time leader in three-pointers with 713 and boasts a career of average of 46.4 percent for field goals and 46.1 percent for three pointers. Ingram briefly played in Australia in 2016 before requesting to return to the states citing mental issues, according to the National Basketball League. His recent season with the South Bay Lakers was his 10th in the G-League.
“I kept coming back because I genuinely thought I was close,” Ingram said. “I was going to keep at it until I couldn’t physically.”
If this triumph isn’t wholesome enough already, it turns out he’s an all-around genuine personality too. Ingram tutors math to high school students throughout the year and once took an entire season off to take care of his daughter while his wife finished her college degree, according to the New York Times.
He may have silver hair, but his story of determination is solid gold.