The Los Angeles Lakers have recently signed 33-year-old Andre Ingram, who owns the NBA G-League (previously NBA D-League) record for games played and three-pointers made, to a 10-day contract on Monday. Ingram had previously signed a 10-day contract with the Lakers in 2018 and made his NBA debut at the age of 32, becoming the oldest rookie in league history. In his first game, he torched the Houston Rockets for 19 points on 6-8 shooting in one of the most magical nights of the season.
It’s not easy in the G-League, and Andre Ingram is going on 11 years there. With an average yearly salary of just $35,000 and a travel schedule demanding dozens of cross-country flights, most players decide to go different routes after a few years. But Ingram hasn’t only survived the gauntlet—he’s thrived in it. Ingram twice won the G-League Three-Point Contest in 2010 and 2016 and continues to drain threes nightly for the South Bay Lakers, the Los Angeles Lakers’ current G-League affiliate.
Still, Ingram has spent 32 years dreaming about playing in the NBA. He finally got his chance on Apr. 9, 2018 when the Los Angeles Lakers called him up. The news generated waves throughout the Twittersphere, and the eyes of the basketball world suddenly descended upon a relatively unimportant late-season game pitting two teams whose playoff fates had already been sealed.
When Ingram finally checked in with 1:53 left in the first quarter, the crowd at the Staples Center rose to its feet. Rockets’ point guard Chris Paul hustled over to shake Ingram’s hand—major respect from an all-time great. But this wasn’t merely ceremony. Ingram came to play.
A little over a minute into the second quarter, Ingram received a corner pass and fired up a contested three, his first shot ever in the NBA. He drilled it. A minute later, he caught another pass at the top of the key. Jacked up another three. Same result. Two minutes later, he swished a mid-range jumper while getting hacked by Clint Capela, one of the best shot blockers in the league. It was good for an and-1. He garnered 11 points in the first half—and a chorus of “MVP” chants along the way, something usually reserved for the likes of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
Ultimately, he ended up with 19 points, capped off with a three with just 50 seconds left that cut the Rockets’ lead down to three. Houston ended up winning 105-99, but the outcome wasn’t all that important. What was important was Andre Ingram delivering one of the most incredible, heartwarming performances in NBA history.
This season, the Lakers will again miss the playoffs, a hugely disappointing outcome given the signing of LeBron James last summer. With James on a minute restriction and a host of other Lakers injured, owner Magic Johnson is willing to experiment and maybe have some fun (and also probably tank). Enter Ingram. He had an unbelievable performance in his first game as a Laker last season. Now he gets his chance again in 2019.