Saturday, 9 July 2016
BRANDON INGRAM Feature-THE DUKE
By TIM DAVID HARVEY.
“I think it just gives me motivation to show these guys that the skinny part doesn’t matter"-Brandon Ingram.
First impressions are everything they say and you can tell with the second pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Los Angeles Lakers select Brandon Ingram is far from impressed. You can see from the eyes of the soul as he nods through a hurt insult that's too numb now to be anything but jaded that this is a repeat and it's getting old as California's Red Hot Chilli Peppers once said by the way. With the second question he is asked too after shaking hands with Silver that really isn't framed like one. He's heard it all before. But how about a million more times? No thanks right?! Just like those stupid Spongebob or Jack Skeleton memes as tastelessly tacky as they are tauntingly thoughtless, when no one else looked as dapper as this don in his Draft Day NBA birthday suit that looked like he flipped his Bel-Air blazer Fresh Prince inside out. "I said this yesterday (so it's already been said...again) when I first saw you...I can't believe how skinny you are"! That's what the reporter (albeit still a great one) tasked with being one of the first people to interview Brandon Ingram, mere seconds after his Lakers debut as their top selection asked. Not some other generic soundbite regarding retired Kobe Bryant. Or something else that has nothing to do with how this young man plays...but the ultimate thing that has everything to do with ignorant gossip, but nothing to do with how he puts it down. I know the pain Brandon. A judge, jury and executioner of my peers and girls would never look at me twice when I was your new jersey number in age because I was the kind of guy you couldn't see if I turned on my side. And that wasn't the only thing. Because of my slight build and skinny figure I was bullied mercilessly in an all boys school because I wasn't in their eyes viewed as a "real man", because I carried skin and bones, rather than a six pack. Miller Lite rather than a beer with the boys. But I tell you that's not what makes a man. Traits like endurance and passionate drive do. Not to mention or forget compassion. Their lack of that was hell and still in ways only I know tortures and torments me and stunts my growth to this day. And I'm thirty for crying out loud! You're just a kid. As Ingram protests, almost-if it wasn't for his already reputation certified, trademark professionalism-pleadingly, "I'm only 18"! Sideline reporter take note...he's just made his powerful punch of a point. Even if as subtely so as his slender but soul of heart build of a body.
"I have an inner strength that no one knows about"-Brandon Ingram.
But they're about to. And pardon the pathetic pun, but do you want to know the skinny on this kid? They're calling this young gunner the next Kevin Durant. You know? Only the biggest free agent of not only this offseason, but all the Summers since LeDecision. No matter if you love it/him or hate his taking the talented superteam of the big three, downtown Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green Golden State Warriors and turning them into NBA Basketball's equivalent of Marvel. So you can frame Brandon Ingram as the perfect prototype player for this California brand of basketball. Especially when out West he models his game on the likes of underrated superstar and all defensive San Antonio Spur swingman and King moat stopper Kawhi Leonard. Not to mention silver and black legend George Gervin which even surprised another legend and Inside The NBA interviewer Grant Hill (another great to follow in the sneaker steps of on court). Sure this teenager two years off 20 should be too young to remember The Iceman...but he does. This kid could be the coldest. And crisply dressed in a Lakers coloured suit on the press conference day of his introduction to the lockers of Laker gold, complete with a perfectly placed purple heart, this man is suited and booted as the next in Laker legacy line to bleed purple and live gold. Inking his reputation to these creeds and colours like the scriptures imbeded in his arms. Like the palm trees that tattoo this city of lost angels who have just found their new saint. One chosen one who in this new small ball revolution could resurrect and lead a 'Death Lineup' of former rookie and sophomores Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr and Jordan Clarkson and last years number two pick D'Angelo Russell and keep them running away from Laker fan suicide from all the lost seasons that have lead to this pick of the litter, as they run other teams to dry erase extinction. That's the Walton way anyway. Be thankful for the Grateful Dead. Forget a 'Fantastic Four', this five could be fire with their new human torch igniting and showing the way like a beacon burning brighter than the futuristic neon of downtown L.A. at night that Dark Knight signal shines from the spaceship like glow of STAPLES, the centre of Los Angeles times.
That now are all going to read about Brandon as this generation Instagrams Ingram. Brandon Ingram is about to ingrane his legacy in Lakerland tomorrow to a marrow of memories of gold, not just a purple haze. And it's all in his bones...not how bony he is. Some critics may try to insult him to injury obscurity. Call it like that coach who once said the late, great Manute Bol was so thin they could save on airfare for away games on the road by faxing him from city to city. But in this "what's your wifi" Bluetooth replacing age lets take it broadsheet back to the printing of the likes of L.A. Times Pulitzer Prize winning legend Jim Murray's newspaper columns that would join you with your glass of orange and round of toast at your breakfast counter. He would have referenced something more meaningful in his analysis. Like the 6 foot 9, 190 pound kids wingspan that reaches to a floor spreading seven feet and three inches. Saying something like just north of Nevada you could put a basket at each end of the Grand Canyon and this kid could still play the passing lanes. You know he reached higher than the opposite of this landmarks drop too for that block in his Summer league debut so big you know only Chick would have been able to call it. Give it it's own name like he saw it...and our eyes are about to. All you have to do is read above the underline of all the journalists notepads from Ingram's presser to see the word "Vocal" stressed over and over again like their recorders were broke. Another big time player that's added his John Hancock to the new Lake Show proceedings Luol Deng-brought in to mentor his fellow Small Forward scoring former Duke alumnus-knows this Devil in a blue uniform has that Coach K professionalism in him already. It is as integral as Ingram's mature integrity. A young man willing to write the next chapter of his career whilst his peers are busy composing their Snapchat story. Even if he doesn't make Sixer Bill Simmons book of basketball look more like the prelude of Sam Bowie, this young prince in purple looking like Kendrick Lamar could soon be the king of L.A. like the man that levitates, levitates levitates. All the way to being raised like those former greats to the place where they put gold banners. Big names with ceilings squinting eyes looking up couldn't even see. Names like Wilt, Shaq and Kareem. Numbers like 13, 32 and 33. Even names like West, Wilkes and Worthy. It's not always about the centre of attention but those smooth as silk players with games big enough to be the legacy logo of this league. Look for number 14, because he may soon have his day like 24. After all look at the locker they gave him. A snake slithers out behind a bottle of Vino left there, proposed as a toast to Brandon as his Ingram name is placed over one you might be more familiar with. One who twenty years ago before this kid was even born was a young 18 year old himself with the weight of Los Angeles' Hollywood world on his skinny shoulders . One number eight. One Kobe Bryant. Two decades later like it was all scripted its time for the second pick to be the second coming.