Anybody who’s anybody knows that one of basketball’s all-time greats, Kobe Bryant, retired following this past National Basketball Association (NBA) season. In the two decades that the “Mamba” spent with the Lakers, he managed to acquire five championships, one Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, and was named to the West All-Star team an astonishing 18 teams. Bryant’s skills somewhat declined in the past few years as he aged, but that didn’t stop him from scoring 60 points in his final NBA game. With the player who’s been the face of the franchise for twenty years having stepped away from the game, who better to fill the vacancy than rookie sensation Brandon Ingram?
Ingram, a native of Kinston, North Carolina, managed to secure four state championships while at Kinston High School. I myself was lucky enough to have seen him play at the high school level, and I knew right away that he was the real deal. After spending just one season at Duke University, he opted for the NBA Draft, where he was selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only did it seem as though he was stepping into the spotlight in the new-found absence of Bryant, he took over the Black Mamba’s locker as well.
In the preseason, Ingram has shown the world that he is a force to be reckoned with, despite some critics saying he lacks the build to compete with some of professional basketball’s finest. Just last night, in a preseason game against what very well may be the best equipped team in the history of basketball, regardless of their second-place finish last year, Brandon Ingram showed the Golden State Warriors what he was made of. Coming off the bench, Ingram managed to score 21 points and was 7/10 in FG and 5/6 from the free throw line. He was outscored only by the two-time reigning MVP Steph Curry and the Warriors’ newly acquired Kevin Durant. Some may say this feat isn’t too impressive, but for a rookie to put up 21 against what is arguably the most stacked team in history coming off of the bench, it definitely proves that he’s more than ready for the big leagues.