Who is this guy??
LOS ANGELES -- As Andre Ingram checked into his first NBA game late in the first quarter, Houston Rockets star Chris Paul walked over with a quick message.
Paul, like many others, was in awe of Ingram's inspirational story, which went viral Monday. After spending a decade in the G League, Ingram was called up by the Los Angeles Lakers for the remainder of the season.
"I told him I heard about his story and that grind is unbelievable," said Paul, who, like Ingram, is 32. "I told him 'much respect.' Ten years grinding in the G League, and to finally get an opportunity and to play like that, that is pretty special."
If Ingram's NBA debut ended right there, it would have been more than enough for him. After a decade of traveling the country by bus and plane, staying in affordable hotels in small cities while having to tutor youngsters in math on the side just to keep his NBA dream alive, Ingram finally played in an NBA game at age 32.
Ingram couldn't have imagined this kind of NBA debut, even in his wildest dreams.
"It was once in a lifetime," said Ingram, who was still in awe after the game.
Ingram, a 6-3 guard who holds the all-time G League record for most 3-pointers made, drilled his first four shots Tuesday night, including three from behind the 3-point arc, and finished with 19 points and three blocks in the Lakers' 105-99loss to the Houston Rockets. He finished 6-for-8 from the field, including 4-for-5 on 3-pointers. And he sent the Staples Center crowd into a frenzy with each shot made, even being serenaded with "MVP" chants with the actual MVP front-runner, Rockets guard James Harden, on the same floor.
"Everyone was like, 'Man, when you get it, just let it go,'" Ingram said. "Everyone was like that. All the players, all the coaches.