Recently the G League received attention for its program aimed at hiring 18-year-olds who would like to bypass college through their select program. Before this program, there were some G League success stories, but historically the G League isn’t known for producing NBA star athletes.
Andre Ingram’s NBA dreams
A popular route for players who do not get drafted by the NBA is to join a basketball league overseas. Ingram did not follow this path. While players who go abroad are welcome with large salaries and regional success, Ingram had his heart set on playing in the NBA.
After he graduated from American University, as the Star-Advertiser details, he was not drafted by any NBA team but was drafted seventh round to Utah Fire. He viewed this as the route most likely to help him reach his goals. After four years playing on Utah Fire, Ingram moved to LA to play for another G League team, the D-Fenders (now South Bay Lakers).
Moonlighting as a math tutor
The G League is not known as a path to financial success. Except for their new program to recruit players straight out of high school, salaries are meager, ranging from $19,500 to $26,000, reports Sports Illustrated.
While playing minor league basketball, Ingram had also gotten married and welcomed a daughter into the world. The salary he was making playing basketball did not cover his bills, so he also worked as a math tutor to make ends meet. Ingram was always known for his intelligence.
His teammates are the first to commend his practical knowledge. He was often the one who has the last word to help resolve debates or make decisions. His logical thinking led him to earn a degree in physics. Luckily this passion for mathematics would help him be able to reach for his basketball goals.
Ingram makes it to the NBA
Ingram excelled in the G League. His accolades include being G League’s leader in games played and 3-pointers. After 10 years of toiling away in the minor league, Ingram finally made his NBA debut with the LA Lakers.
On April 10, 2018, at the age of 32, Ingram made his debut to an arena of supportive fans. All eyes were on him, including his wife and six-year-old daughter. He did not disappoint his fans or his family that night. Ingram scored 19 points with four 3-pointers.
Ingram went back to the G League after the end of the 2018 season but continued to work hard. He was called up again to the NBA in 2019 for a 10-day contract, details the LA Times. The Lakers had a tough season for injuries. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram were both out with injuries, and the Lakers knew that Ingram was a man they could count on.
Although Ingram will never be a star NBA player, he will always be a legend. His story is one of perseverance, hard work, and character. His math students learn more than academics. They learn how never to give up, keep a positive attitude, and believe in yourself. Ingram’s story is one that resonates with so many from all walks of life. Perhaps his time on the Laker’s court was brief, but his story will endure.