Brandon Ingram: No Turning Back

Published: November 27, 2019

I am analytical by nature. I’m a sap, too, but usually my analytical side is stronger. This colors how I watch basketball and thus makes me a bit annoying to watch games with. I rarely get caught up in the emotion of the game. Instead, my relentless muttering in games tends to be objective (and hopefully correct), where I criticize or applaud something regardless of whether it’s the Pelicans or the opponents doing it.

The last couple of days have been a media storm, mostly revolving around Anthony Davis’s return to NOLA tonight, and Ramona Shelburne basically accused either (or both) the Pelicans ownership or its fans of being mad at AD for racial reasons. This seems like a reach and she has since come back on it.

But I’m not here to talk about that. Today, Mirin Fader released an awesome article about Brandon Ingram that was way more important than anything related to the AD drama. It isn’t hard to see that Ingram keeps things close to his chest. Fader’s article brought Brandon Ingram the person to life, and what an awesome person that appears to be. She went into detail about his recovery from the blood clot.

He didn’t like to think that he couldn’t handle himself. That the blueprint he had designed for his life at 21 now looked different, uncertain. And it was just the beginning of what would be a spring and summer of change. A few months later, Ingram would be traded to the Pelicans as part of the package that brought superstar center Anthony Davis to Los Angeles. Ingram was forced to grow up in many ways. He had a lot of time to think. Especially about time. How fleeting it is, how wonderful it is. How little he has of it, how much he thought he had of it.

“I thought I was invincible,” Ingram says. His body, so lanky, so long, at 6’7″ with a 7’3″ wingspan, was one of the things that allured coaches and scouts, from his childhood in Kinston, North Carolina, to his one-and-done college season at Duke. His body had upside. His body had advantages. His body had years and years ahead. “I thought I was the most healthiest person in the world. Young bones. Never gon’ get hurt. Could do anything, eat anything.

“That surgery was a call for me, a call for me to finding myself.”

She also highlights his love of New Orleans.

Ingram glances at the two TV screens in front of him. The Saints are trailing 20-9. “The fans here will rejoice at anything, even a loss,” he says. “They’ve been here no matter what. When we come out of the tunnel and lose, they say, ‘We’ll get ’em next time!’ That’s very unique. True, loving fans. It reminds me of home.” The change of scenery, change of pace, from fast L.A. to leisurely N.O., has benefited him. People here are friendly. Total strangers ask, Do you need anything? They say hi just to say hi. They pull up a chair if you are sitting alone. “Southern hospitality, that’s where I come from,” he says. “You can just feel it in the air. Coming here, it just feels good.”

For more, you should go read the article. I’m not going to do the story the justice that it deserves. All I want is to point out that this is a great opportunity to dive all-in on a player who is 22 and playing the best basketball of his life. It’s damn good basketball and he seems like a damn good person. This Pelicans team is full of guys like Ingram to root for. So instead of getting sucked into the stupid drama for a player who no longer plays for us, let’s focus on the good stuff that we are still a part of. Brandon Ingram is loving this city. Let’s love him back.

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