Great day to you!
A little over a week ago, I witnessed a story that brought tears to my eyes. After a 10-year career in the D-League, 32 year old Andre Ingram was finally given his shot at playing his first NBA game when he was called up by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Andre went undrafted in the 2007 NBA draft and entered the development league in hopes to be spotted by a NBA franchise. Every year he came to play and put up numbers. He led the league in three pointers and eventually became ranked 5th in most points scored in league history.
Playing for a salary of a little over $20,000, Andre also tutored math students on the side to supplement his income and help support his wife and two daughters.
Taking long bus rides across the nation to stadiums that sometimes have more empty seats than there are filled, Andre continued to put in work.
Then his moment came, on April 9th, he finally got called up by the Lakers’ management. Informing him that he would play the last two games of the season, and in his debut (the next day)…he dominated (Better way to put it…he showed out).
Against the Houston Rockets, the best team in the league by record, he had 19 points including four 3-pointers.
Andre had been waiting for this moment. It was his time and he took advantage of it. He demonstrated to the world on live television that he DESERVED to be on the floor.
I was inspired by Andre’s story and I couldn’t help but wonder…What was it that made him continue to pursue his dream for 10 years?
Year after year he was overlooked, passed by, and ignored—him and his family making a financial sacrifice, the frustration of year after year going unnoticed, even after dominating the development league.
Why did he hold on when I’m sure that others in the same position would have given up and moved on with their lives?
After his NBA debut, during a postgame interview, Kenny Smith asked him that very same question.
His response: “I genuinely thought that I could do this. I firmly believed that I was capable of playing on this level.”
He was persistent because he “genuinely thought” that his dream was possible or to paraphrase, he believed that he deserved to be where he dreamed of—and because of his belief he was willing to sacrifice for his dream, he stayed resilient when it became hard to keep going, and he stayed ready for his opportunity.
What can we take from this?
Maybe as you’re reading this you too can relate to a dream that seems to be deferred. You’ve been working hard, putting in the work, and giving a new meaning to the word “hustle”. You’re working your job during the day and building your dream at night. You’re in school and picking up whatever odd jobs you can find to pay your bills. You’re making financial sacrifices and doing what you can to make things work. It may seem that you’re going unnoticed, unappreciated, and overlooked. You may be frustrated, upset, or maybe even down right angry. (I get it, trust me, I know this journey is far from easy and the struggle can get real.)
I want to encourage you that if you have that same type of belief that Andre had where you “genuinely think” that you can do this, and you hang in there…you’ll get your opportunity.
Make the sacrifice. Stay resilient…and STAY READY.
You are capable of achieving your dream and believe that it WILL happen. When your time comes, seize your moment, show up, and dominate.
This journey of living out your dreams is not a sprint, it’s a marathon…and you don’t win this race by being the fastest person, or the strongest person, you win it by being the person that never gives up.
How long will you wait? If it matters to you, don’t you give up on your dream. It may take a year, 5 years, 10 years or possibly longer than that, but I guarantee you that it will all be worth it.
Stay in pursuit…