On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers will have two of their players — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — in the NBA All-Star game for the first time since 2013, when Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard were voted in as starters in the Western Conference. However, there’s one other All-Star in Chicago that Lakers fans have a special relationship with, and that’s Brandon Ingram.
Seven months after being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the deal that brought Davis to Los Angeles, Ingram was selected to be an NBA All-Star reserve. Ingram, who the Lakers drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, showed flashes during his three seasons in Los Angeles — particularly during the second half of last season — but the type of leap Ingram has made in his first season with the Pelicans is unlike anything he showed with the Lakers.
Through 47 games this season, Ingram has averaged 24.9 points per game on 47.3% shooting from the field, including 40% from behind the arc. He’s also averaged 6.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and a steal per game. In other words, Ingram has done everything Lakers fans were hoping he’d do at 22 years old, but he’s done it while wearing a Pelicans uniform.
As bittersweet as it might be to see Ingram flourish on another team, the fact that he’s in a good position has made it easier for him to look back at his time in Los Angeles fondly. In an interview with Kyle Goon of the OC Register in Chicago, Ingram said he has no hard feelings towards the Lakers after they traded him last summer:
“They made my dream come true getting to this league,” he said. “That’s the only thing I dreamed of as a little kid. I never thought about which team I’d go to. Making it to the NBA and them being the team that drafted me, I always thank them. They started everything for me. Being in L.A., going through challenges, going through everything that I went through. It definitely made me who I am.”
Ingram’s “glass half full” attitude is what has made it so easy for Lakers to root for him, even though he’s technically the opposition now. Not only is Ingram a really, really talented basketball player, but he’s also a good person.
Hopefully Ingram’s relationship with the Lakers stays good enough for him to consider playing for Los Angeles again one day. Imagine a duo of Ingram and Davis? The length!