Lakers promote Ingram after 10 years in G League

Andre Ingram getting opportunity of a lifetime (1:18)

The Lakers sign Andre Ingram, a 10-year G Leaguer, for the remaining two games of the season. (1:18)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Andre Ingram was expecting to go through his G League exit interview the same way he has done for 10 consecutive years when he was asked to come to the Los Angeles Lakers/South Bay Lakers practice facility a day earlier than scheduled.

As the 32-year-old veteran shooter with salt and pepper hair answered questions about how he thought the G League team's season went, Ingram noticed Lakers team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka standing in the room full of South Bay Lakers brass.

It wasn't long before Ingram was informed that his dream of being called up to the NBA would come true after a decade of grinding in the NBA's minor leagues. In a heartfelt moment that was captured on a video that went viral on Monday, the Lakers surprised Ingram by signing him for the remaining two games of the NBA season.

With Lonzo Ball (knee contusion), Brandon Ingram (concussion protocol) and Kyle Kuzma (ankle) out, Lakers head coach Luke Walton said the G League's all-time 3-point shooting leader will get his chance to play against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. The Lakers finish the season against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

"It was all the emotions you'd think," said Andre Ingram, who hugged everyone in the room after the announcement. "It was joy, it was, I don't know, vindication. It just felt great all the way around. It was a wonderful moment. They tricked me pretty good. Thought I was heading in for an exit interview and I'll be around for a couple more days. I'm excited man. Just excited to get out there and have a good time, so I'm looking forward to it."

Ingram will finally get his first taste of the NBA after logging 384 career G League and NBA Development League games for the Utah Flash, Los Angeles D-Fenders and South Bay Lakers.

"He probably is the most respected person in the G League," said point guard Alex Caruso, one of the Lakers' two-way players who has switched back and forth between the G League and NBA. "Coaches, players ... I would be willing to bet that. You put in perspective a decade of your life ... so I was 14. I would have been a freshman or sophomore in high school when Andre played his first year in the [then D League]. And now I am teammates with him on the Lakers."

Ingram, lauded for his professional work ethic and team approach, has averaged 10.2 points in his career. The 6-foot-3 guard owns the G League's all-time record with 713 3-pointers made, and he has shot 46.1 percent from behind the arc for his career.

"Get ready," Johnson told Ingram as they embraced. "I want that [46] percent [3-point shooting]. Congratulations."

Pelinka and Walton told Ingram how much he deserved this moment, one that he shared with his wife and mother when he called them on his cell phone only to hear screaming on the other end.

"I couldn't even hear what they were saying, once I told them," Ingram said on Tuesday after the Lakers' morning shootaround. "... They probably let out what I truly wanted to let out, so it was cool."

Ingram played at American University from 2003-07 and averaged 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals his senior year. He was drafted by the Utah Flash in the seventh round of the 2007 NBA Development League draft and spent four seasons with the Flash before joining Los Angeles in 2012.

Ingram had a short stint overseas with the Perth Wildcats in Australia but he said he resisted other early offers to play overseas to pursue his dream of making the NBA and going the domestic route.

Like anyone who has toiled in professional basketball's minor leagues, Ingram wondered whether to give up his NBA dream when he started his family.

"I guess there was a point in there, my first daughter was born and I was probably like five years in at that point, I was transitioning to being a father and that was weird and I hadn't been called up yet," Ingram reflected. "Well is the D-League good enough for your family to live on? ... And only at that point probably [did thoughts of quitting come up]. But other than that, I've enjoyed playing. It's been a joy, and I have no intentions of stopping any time soon."

Ingram said he has picked up a variety of other jobs like training youth players and even tutoring math to help support himself and his family and keep his basketball dream alive during the past decade.

"I have known guys that played a couple of years in the G League and they're like, man, I can't do this anymore," Caruso said of the G League grind. "And they went overseas and they are making good money but they gave up on the dream because it wasn't worth the fight."

Ingram makes it clear he is not bitter or filled with regrets after waiting this long to make it to the NBA. He says he remembers it all.

"Just staying with it," Ingram says of what has been toughest about his journey here. "I mean, you get commended for kind of hanging in there and sticking with it like there wasn't any doubt at any point. There was doubt. There were hard times. There was uncertainty."

"They were fond memories. They're not like, you know, angry memories: Man, I should be here. No it's not any of that," Ingram added. "... It's a handsome reward for time put in. I'm thankful I have the opportunity, but there's a lot of people that work hard. I'm grateful man. That's all it is. I'm grateful."