Brandon Xavier Ingram (born September 2, 1997) is an American professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. He was traded to New Orleans and became a first-time NBA All-Star and was named the NBA Most Improved Player in 2020 during his first season with the Pelicans.
Ingram had a successful high school career in North Carolina, where he won state titles each of his four years of high school and was named North Carolina's Mr. Basketball. He played one season of college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils, where he was named Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year. After the season, Ingram decided to forgo his remaining college eligibility and declared for the NBA draft. He played three seasons with the Lakers before being traded to New Orleans in 2019 in a package for All-Star Anthony Davis.
Ingram was born on September 2, 1997, in Kinston, North Carolina. He is the son of Donald and Joann Ingram. He has two half-siblings, an older brother, Donovan, and an older sister, Brittany. He shares a father with Donovan and a mother with Brittany. Ingram's father started his career as a police officer and a manager of a local gym, but he is now full-time at a welding plant, where he makes fork lifts. Before that, Donald was a would-be hoops star, pushing his way through the semi-pro leagues. When he moved back home to Kinston, his father started playing pickup games with a young Jerry Stackhouse, who was looking to play locally against older and more experienced players to help him elevate his game. Stackhouse, an ex-NBA star and Kinston native, forged a friendship with Ingram's father on the basketball court.
While Ingram grew up in a one-story house on Highland Avenue in Kinston, his brother Donovan grew up in a different house but would spend weekends with Brandon, teaching him basketball. Kinston had an extremely high crime rate, but Ingram kept his focus on basketball. Before Ingram was a teenager, his brother allowed him to play with him and his older friends. He described this experience as "the best thing that ever happened to my game". His brother, known as Bo, went on to play college basketball for South Plains College (2008–2010) and UT Arlington (2010–2012). By the time Brandon reached eighth grade, Stackhouse became Ingram's Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coach and mentored the young basketball player. Those influences "took me to the next level", said Ingram, whose foundation as a player came from his father. His father was a high school and collegiate referee who stated Brandon "was trained correctly, both mentally and physically. He grew up knowing the rules of the game". Ingram played all four years of his high school basketball career at Kinston High School and helped lead Kinston to four straight state championships during his time there.
High school career
During his freshman year at Kinston, he came off the bench on the varsity basketball team but along the way his role grew. In his first year with the Kinston Vikings, the team defeated Cuthbertson High School by three points to win the 2012 NCHSAA 2-A boys basketball state championship in Reynolds Coliseum. As a sophomore, Kinston defeated Cuthbertson for the second year in a row to win the state title and Ingram averaged 12.4 points per game (ppg), 3.9 rebounds per game (rpg) and 1.5 assists per game (apg). Prior to the start of Ingram's junior year, he began to show improvement during the 2013 summer while playing AAU basketball. After shining for the Stackhouse Elite team, the 6-foot-7 junior entered the year with high expectations and received a large amount of attention from college coaches who were lined up to recruit Ingram to a Division I school.
In his junior year, Ingram led the Kinston Vikings to a its third consecutive state title where he scored 28 points to go along with his 16 rebounds against North Rowan. During the season, the Vikings went undefeated in their conference with a 26-4 overall record while Ingram was averaging 19.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.5 assists per game and was named Eastern Regional Most Valuable Player (MVP). During the spring 2014, Ingram represented the Stackhouse Elite for the Norman Parker Showcase at the Suwanee Sports Academy where he earned MVP honors after leading the team to the championship. He averaged 17.9 points per game and 5.3 rebounds each contest and shot better than 81 percent from the free throw line during the Adidas Uprising circuit. After his junior year came to an end, Ingram participated in the NBPA Top 100 Camp on June 19, 2014 at John Paul Jones Arena in Virginia. Later that summer, instead of playing for an AAU tournament in the Atlanta area, he decided to compete with his high school team at the annual East Coast Invitational (ECI), an off-season event in his home state.
As a senior, he averaged 24.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game and led the Vikings to a 26–4 record. At the Spalding Hoophall Classic, Kinston pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback defeating Trenton Catholic Academy (56-54) behind Ingram's 22 points. In his final high school basketball game, he was named MVP of the state championship game after scoring 28 points to go with 10 rebounds and 5 blocks in a win over East Lincoln High School at the Dean E. Smith Center. This made Ingram the first men's basketball player to win 4 consecutive North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) championships. The Vikings also became the first Class 2A school in North Carolina history to win four consecutive state titles. Following his senior season, Ingram was a participant in the 2015 McDonald's All-American Game, where he scored 15 points and had five rebounds.
Ingram was rated as a five-star recruit and was considered among the best high school prospects of the 2015 class. He was ranked as the No. 3 overall recruit by ESPN and Scout, as well as No. 4 overall by Rivals. He was named North Carolina's Mr. Basketball and Player of the Year by North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association (NCBCA). He also made the Parade All-American team, in his senior season, joining Duke teammate Luke Kennard. In his senior year, he was also named to the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All-District First Team. On April 27, 2015 he announced that he would attend Duke University and play for the Blue Devils in the 2015-16 season. Ingram said he "probably" would have committed to North Carolina in November if the Tar Heels were not involved in a "far-reaching academic scandal".
Ingram began his freshman year of college basketball playing two exhibition games against Florida Southern and Livingstone. In his debut for Duke, Ingram scored 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting against Siena. In the second game, he scored 21 points to help Duke defeat Bryant in the 2K Sports Classic. The Blue Devils started out the season ranked fifth in the nation entering the Champions Classic, an event that matches four of the nation's best programs against each other, before receiving their first loss of the season against Kentucky on November 17, 2015. The same day, Ingram became one of seven freshmen named to the 50-man Wooden Award preseason watchlist. Duke quickly bounced back by defeating Georgetown the following week at the 2K Sports Classic Championship in Madison Square Garden on November 22. The same week, Ingram came off the bench for the second time after being removed from Duke's starting line-up for their game against Yale, scoring 15 points. The following game, he was inserted back into the starting line-up and helped Duke start the season 9–1, which included a seven-game win streak, before falling to Utah in overtime. During a five-game stretch in December, Ingram averaged 21.2 points and 8.8 rebounds while filling in at power forward for injured Amile Jefferson. After recording 24 points and 6 rebounds in a win over Indiana in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on December 2, Ingram scored 23 points to lead Duke over Buffalo. For his efforts, he received his first ACC Rookie of the Week honor.
On December 12, 2015, Ingram scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a home win over Georgia Southern, and blocked a career-high 6 shots in a home win over Virginia Tech in January 2016. That same month, he scored 25 points and had 9 rebounds in a win at Boston College in his ACC debut. After being voted National Freshman of the Week and ACC Rookie of the Week twice in the month of January, Ingram helped Duke break a three-game losing streak by scoring 25 points to go with 7 rebounds against NC State. In February 2016, he was voted ACC Rookie of the Week for the fourth time after averaging a team-high 21.5 points and added 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists on the week as Duke defeated number thirteen Louisville and number seven Virginia to extend its winning streak to four games. That same month, Ingram was named to the 35-man midseason watchlist for the Naismith College Player of the Year award. In a road game against the number fifth seed and rival North Carolina, Ingram scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to give Duke a one-point win over the Tar Heels on February 17.
As the fifth seed in the ACC Tournament, Duke beat NC State in the second round but lost to Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. In the 2016 NCAA Tournament, Duke was awarded a fourth seed and won their first round match-up against UNC Wilmington. After beating Yale in the second round, Duke was defeated in the Sweet 16 by Oregon despite 24 points from Ingram. In 36 games for Duke in 2015-16, Ingram averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 34.6 minutes per game, while shooting 44.2% from the field, 41.0% from three-point range and 68.2% from the free throw line. He finished the tournament averaging 23.0 points to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in the three games. He subsequently earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors and AP All-American honorable mention. Ingram had one of the best seasons ever for a young player at Duke, ranking in the top 3 among the school's all-time freshman leaders in scoring (third), three-pointers (second) and 20-point games (tied for second). On April 4, 2016, Ingram declared for the 2016 NBA draft, forgoing his final three years of college eligibility.
Los Angeles Lakers (2016–2019)
Rookie season (2016–17)
On June 23, 2016, Ingram was selected with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Being 18 years old at the time, he was the second youngest player drafted in 2016. On August 23, 2016, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Lakers. He made his debut for the Lakers in their season opener on October 26, 2016, scoring nine points off the bench in a 120–114 win over the Houston Rockets. On November 23, in his first career start, Ingram scored a career-high 16 points in a 149–106 loss to the Golden State Warriors. He topped that mark on December 2, scoring 17 points in a 113–80 loss to the Toronto Raptors. On December 17, he had nine points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, finishing just an assist and point shy of becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double in Los Angeles' 119–108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. On January 6, 2017, he had his second 17-point game of the season in a 127–100 win over the Miami Heat. Two days later, he had another 17-point effort in a 111–95 win over the Orlando Magic. During the NBA All-Star Weekend, he participated in the Rising Stars Challenge along with teammate D'Angelo Russell. He hit the 20-point mark for the first time in his career on February 26, scoring 22 points in a 119–98 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. At the season's end, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
During his only game in Summer League, Ingram scored 26 points in the first game and according to the Los Angeles Times, "had a fabulous debut this summer[...] and outclassed all the other players on the court." On October 20, 2017, he scored a then career-high 25 points in a 132–130 win over the Phoenix Suns. On November 15, 2017, he scored 26 points to go with a career-best 11 rebounds in a 115–109 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. On November 29, he scored a career-high 32 points in a 127–123 overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors. On December 7, he scored 21 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining, leading the Lakers to a 107–104 victory over the 76ers to end a five-game losing streak. On January 5, 2018, he had 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in a 108–94 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. For the second year, he participated in the Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend for Team USA. On March 1, Ingram suffered a groin strain that would cause him to miss 12 straight games. He returned on March 30 against the Milwaukee Bucks but suffered a neck muscle contusion during the game and was placed in the NBA's concussion protocol, causing him to miss the rest of the season.
Ingram received a four-game suspension early in the 2018–19 season for his involvement in an on-court fight against the Houston Rockets on October 20. He missed seven games in December with a sprained left ankle. On January 17, 2019, he had a career-high 11 assists in a 138–128 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. On January 29, he scored a career-high 36 points in a 121–105 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. On March 9, Ingram was ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a deep vein thrombosis in his arm.
New Orleans Pelicans (2019–present)
On July 6, 2019, the Lakers traded Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, the draft rights to De'Andre Hunter, two first round picks, a first-round pick swap and cash to the New Orleans Pelicans for All-Star Anthony Davis. On November 4, 2019, Ingram recorded a then career-high by scoring 40 points in a loss against the Brooklyn Nets. On January 16, 2020, he bested that career high, scoring 49 points in a 138–132 overtime win over the Utah Jazz. Ingram gave New Orleans a one-point lead with a fadeaway jumper with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulation, before Rudy Gobert was fouled and sent the game to overtime with a free throw. He became an NBA All-Star in his first year as a Pelican. He was named the NBA Most Improved Player after averaging 23.8 points. 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
After becoming a restricted free agent in the 2020 offseason, Ingram resigned to the Pelicans on a five year, $158 million contract. His contract has no player or team option, setting Ingram up to become a free agent again in the 2025 offseason.
National team career
Standing 6 feet 8 inches tall (2.03 m) and weighing 196 pounds (89 kg), Ingram plays mostly at the small forward position. His long arms, stretching to a 7-foot 3 inch wingspan and 9-foot 1 inch standing reach, allows him get his shot off over defenders and block shots on the defensive end. Ingram has drawn frequent comparisons to Kevin Durant, after whom he patterned his playing style revealing, "I try to take bits and pieces out of [Durant's] game and put it in my game [but] at the end of the day, he's Kevin Durant, and I'm Brandon Ingram". Like Durant, the teenager has been criticized for his slim frame; however one Western Conference coach stated that Ingram is "just weak right now. He's not soft, by any stretch of the imagination." After a Team USA practice, Durant told reporters that Ingram is "the first person that I could… look at him and feel like I’m looking in the mirror". In his rookie year, Ingram was utilized as a point forward by coach Luke Walton, who stated that "it helps engage [Ingram] in the game."
Off the court
Growing up, one of his favorite things to do as a kid was fishing with his grandmother at Atlantic Beach. Ingram signed with Excel Sports Management and is represented by Excel founder and president Jeff Schwartz. In 2016, he chose to sign an endorsement deal with Adidas Basketball and made an appearance in a commercial for Speed Stick along with then Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Kris Dunn. In early 2017, he teamed up with L.A. street artist Jonas Never for Delta's "Beyond the Court" campaign, which will see Ingram and Laker teammate Jordan Clarkson explore their passions outside of basketball. While Clarkson is an aspiring fashion designer, Ingram's passion for art began with him drawing basketball players and cartoon characters, which was bolstered by taking a portrait drawing class at Duke.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Awards and honors
- NBA All-Star (2020)
- NBA Most Improved Player (2020)
- 2× Rising Stars Challenge (2017, 2018)
- NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2017)
- High school
- 4× NCHSAA champion (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
- North Carolina Mr. Basketball (2015)
- McDonald's All-American (2015)
- First-team Parade All-American (2015)
- Nike Hoop Summit (2015)