Only a year after graduating from high school and a few months out of his one-year stint with the Duke Blue Devils, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram already has very big shoes to fill.

Not only are the Lakers coming off their worst season ever, their franchise player and most prolific scorer ever, Kobe Bryant,  has retired after a great 20-year career. The symbolism has already started with Ingram’s locker, which used to be The Black Mamba’s, and he’s well aware of it.

“I did see where my locker was, and I definitely knew it was Kobe’s locker,” Ingram said. “(General manager) Mitch (Kupchak) told me I had some big shoes to fill when I came in here, but I liked it. I like the pressure that’s on me right now. Of course it’s going to motivate me to do good things on the court. It’s all good pressure for me.”

Even before he was drafted, Ingram was compared to superstars like Kevin Durant and Kobe. He’s light years away in terms of experience, but he has embraced his position with the team and does not let the pressure get to himself. He is determined to have great communication with his teammates and create chemistry with the likes of Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and D’Angelo Russell.

Ingram has received tremendous support from his family, especially his father Donald, and his brother Bo, who plays professionally in Mexico. The Ingram patriarch runs a recreation center in their hometown of Kinston, North Carolina. That is where Brandon started learning the game of basketball

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He was always taught to stick to the fundamentals and not what his father calls the “And-1” mentality or highlight-driven plays. His brother, Bo, will be looking for a place to live in LA to make sure there’s always somebody with the almost youthful rookie.

The Lakers will be helping his NBA transition as well, starting with new head coach Luke Walton and his coaching staff. The team also signed his fellow Blue Devil, Luol Deng.

With everything in place, come the start of the season, it will be Brandon’s game that needs to do the talking. With a great mindset and the whole support system behind him, there’s no reason for success not to come at the start of his promising career.

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