Matt Ryan has been one of the feel-good narratives surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers amid their disastrous start to the new season. In case you didn’t know, this man was trying to make ends meet as a cemetery worker and a food delivery driver before he got his shot with the Lakers. It’s been quite a journey for the 25-year-old.
Ryan, who played one season with the Boston Celtics last season, has now made his mark with the Lakers this year. He’s no star by any means, but there’s no denying that he’s been a contributor for LA to start the new campaign. It’s hard to imagine that just a few months ago, Ryan was working in a cemetery. The 6-foot-7 swingman recently relived his amazing journey toward becoming teammates with the great LeBron James:
“It was guard-heavy one day and then a bunch of the guys played the next day,” Ryan told Dave McMenamin of ESPN of his experience during the Lakers’ training camp. “That’s when I played my best, when the guys on the team were there, and I think they probably recognized that.
“Bringing me and seeing the roster, it was fairly obvious that one of the big needs was shooting. So if I can go in and make a good impression with my shooting, then I had a shot. And I did that during the free agent week and again during training camp, and made some shots during the preseason. I’m very fortunate they kept me around.”
Ryan etched his name in Lakers folklore after his mind-blowing buzzer-beater against the New Orleans Pelicans. With just seconds remaining in regulation and the Lakers down three points, Ryan drained an off-balanced trey from the corner to send the game to overtime. LA ended up winning that game, 120-117.
“So, I don’t want to sound cocky at all, but like I was able to get my feet down and get a shot off,” Ryan said when asked to rate the degree of difficulty on the shot. “For any shooter, that’s all you can ask for.”
This is also all LeBron and the Lakers can hope for when they signed Ryan to a contract. He’s played his part to a tee, and he’s been fairly consistent as a 3-point specialist for LA. Now if only the Lakers could bring in more Matt Ryan-like guys to the roster.