Though the Los Angeles Lakers have been drowning in basketball oblivion for the last several years since the departure of revered guard Kobe Bryant, optimism is quickly beginning to find its way back inside the doors of the Staples Center. With a loaded crop of baby-faced ballers adept at putting up numbers on the scoreboard, L.A. might have a reason to smile again, especially if second-year star Brandon Ingram continues to lead the charge.
Drafted No. 2 in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Duke standout has emerged as the go-to star for the purple and gold. With shades of Kevin Durant peppered throughout his basketball DNA, Ingram's feathery touch has made L.A. fans gush at his limitless potential. After having a pedestrian rookie year that consisted of averages of 9 points per game and a meager 40 percent from the field, Ingram upped his game in year two. Through the first half of the season, Ingram is averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on 46 percent shooting from the field.
In addition to upping his basketball prowess, off the court, Ingram has sharpened his image, just so he can style on his haters. Through his collaboration with Express, featuring fellow NBA players John Collins and Jamal Murray, Ingram is able to showcase his simple yet flashy style on camera, making him the all-around star that the city of L.A. has been lusting for for some time now. The former lottery pick spoke to Billboard about his second year in the league, his fashion sense, Lonzo Ball's rap skills, his love for G-Herbo and more. Check it out below.
How would you describe your style in one word?
I don't know. If I could put simple and flashy together, that'd be it.
Yeah, something like that. [Laughs] If I could put that together, it''d be that, that would be it. I try to put simple stuff together with the colors that I know are going to pop, or like a certain pair of shoes that look right every time. It's all about dressing how you feel.
Who would you say has the best style out of you, John and Jamal?
Ah, man. It's too easy. [Laughs] It'd gotta be me.
You came from a powerhouse school like Duke and received tutelage from one of the best coaches ever in Coach K. What advice did he give you during your one year at Duke that still sticks with you today?
He used to say that you're always coming and never arriving. He always talks about how you could become better at what you do, or how you can be better every single day. He also talks about enjoying the process and loving the process. Also, being in the moment. I think that sticks with me, I just try to make the most out of my moments in what I'm doing right now because I know that's going to affect the future.
How have you adjusted in your second year to the city of L.A. and the NBA as a whole?
Oh, it's crazy. I'm a low-key kind of guy, so I'm good with laying low and not being around people too much. I think having this All-Star [Weekend] in L.A. really showed me how crazy the L.A. Lakers fanbase really is. Going out everywhere and just seeing all the fans and the love shown is amazing.
Everyone is in love with the Baby Lakers, featuring you, Julius Randle, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. How excited are you about the future?
The most exciting thing is how you get to see how they work each and every day. I think that everybody comes in and works on their games. It's exciting to see them push as hard as they can, study the game and do different moves while also improving their skill-level. I think that's the most exciting part: seeing them work every single day whether it's on their own game or just learning how to play the game the right way. That's the most exciting part.
I know Kevin Durant is your favorite player, so what is it about his game that you appreciate and try to emulate most into your own skill-set?
The thing that I appreciate the most is something that I wanna get to learn, and that's how efficient he is. He's so efficient each and every night. He shoots the same shots every single night. He knows exactly where the ball is coming every single time. He knows the shots he's going to take and the shots that the defense is going to give him. He's super efficient every single night and I try to get better with that.
You're also a fan of J. Cole. Is there a single project of his that you love and adore the most?
J. Cole is definitely one of my favorite artists, but I like a lot of different music.
Like Lil Herb?
Yeah, that is one of my favorite guys right there. G Herbo too, and he just dropped Humble Beast Deluxe. He got a song with Blac Youngsta that I like. That's what I really vibe to.
If I was to scroll down your playlist, what songs can I find you bumping to before each and every game?
I think Lil Baby got an album that just came out, Migos Culture II -- that album really goes crazy. There's a lot of stuff that goes crazy on that one, but I really like listening to songs that got a real message to them. I like that and different beats.
What do you think about Lonzo's rap skills?
I mean, I like them. I didn't have a chance to listen to the thing he just dropped, but the album he had before, it was pretty cool. It was nice, I liked it. We were bumping it in the locker room sometimes and before games. He's pretty solid.
If you could pick one word to title this chapter of your life, what would it be and why?
Humility. I always to try block everything out, good or bad. I always hope to keep receiving blessings, to have faith, because you know, there's a time to block everything out and just work on your craft, work on everything that you desire to get, desire to want. I think the one word that does come to mind is humility.
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