If there’s anyone who can understand the expectations and pressure Los Angeles Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram and 2nd overall draft pick will be dealing with this year, it could be fellow teammate D’Angelo Russell. Recently Russell shared his advice to Ingram with SLAM Magazine, saying the forward should “embrace the pressure” something he admitted he didn’t do. Ingram joined The Jim Rome Show on Friday and responded to Russell’s comments.
“My reaction is listen. He’s been here before, he’s been through the same thing I’ve been through. He was the number 2 pick last year,” Ingram said. “Just knowing there’s a lot of pressure, of course with Kobe Bryant leaving, of course and me saying that I’m filling his position, so we know there’s a lot of pressure and added pressure from fans and other things, but just playing my game, I think attack the game in a different way, and act like I can stay out there, be out there with those guys and just compete every single night.”
Over the summer, Ingram was a part of USA’s Men’s Select Team, a squad that practiced with Team USA in their preparation for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games. During the practices, the 19-year-old left an impression on superstar Kevin Durant, who complemented Ingram by saying, “He’s a little further along than I was at that stage. The first person I can say that I look at him and I feel like I’m looking in a mirror.” It was incredibly high praise that the forward said he will never forget.
“It means a lot. Just knowing that I’ve been growing up looking at him and he’s been my idol for a very long time. Just to hear that, just him to make the comment will go down in my book, and I respect him a lot,” Ingram said. “I’ve been respecting him as a player for a very long time, but he helps me, motivation to keep working and just come in here everyday and just to try to simulate his game and try to add pieces of his game to mine, and of course, I have my own game, so that will help out a lot.”
While growing up, Ingram played for 2-time NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse, an experience he found to be extremely beneficial to his game.
“I met him for the first time in grade school, and he took me along the way on his AAU team in middle school, and it was just great playing for him,” Ingram said. “The way he played is a certain way that I wanted to play. He attacked the game in a different way, and I just knew going under his AAU team, I did a lot better and he just promoted an opportunity for me to help me get here today.”
Although, Ingram did admit it was challenging when Stackhouse took part in the drills.
“Just him having those years in the NBA, just teaching me different things; how to use my body and just using my size. It was very competitive when we were out there and he was coaching,” Ingram said. “When he coached, he always pitched in and he even played sometimes. So just his competitiveness on the floor, it always helped out.”