Brandon Ingram
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Brandon Ingram loves wearing retro hard-rock T-shirts – even if he doesn’t know much about the bands

Ingram has made a habit of sporting retro tees featuring bands like Metallica, Pantera and Rammstein
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Brandon Ingram made the Western Conference All-Star team in his first season in New Orleans, averaging 23.8 points since joining the franchise, making it extremely rare for the 6-foot-8 forward to disappoint anyone in the Pelicans’ fan base. There’s one exception, however, which comes whenever Ingram wears one of his favorite heavy metal T-shirts and encounters a dual Pelicans/hard-rock fan on the street.

Since arriving in the Crescent City in 2019, Ingram has made a habit of sporting retro tees featuring bands like Metallica, Pantera and Rammstein, to name a few. The problem is, when fans of those musicians see Ingram donning their favorite band’s shirt, they expect him to be familiar with the work of Metallica singer James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, for example. Unfortunately for Ingram, that’s clearly not the case.

“To be honest, I don’t even know these bands,” Ingram admitted, grinning. “The people who I work with in the (Pelicans practice) facility, or wherever I’m at (in New Orleans) tell me more about my shirts than I actually know. I wear a lot of vintage T-shirts with a lot of rock bands on them, but I have no idea (about the actual music). I know of Metallica and maybe one more (group), but people tell me more information about it than I have.”

Born in 1997, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Ingram is not familiar with the high-decibel 1986 Metallica album “Master of Puppets” or that Rammstein’s “Sensucht” album was released the same year Ingram was born (the forward has worn a T-shirt featuring that CD’s ominous-looking cover). Yet fans sometimes grill Ingram about the specifics of the band he’s promoting via his shirts.

“They’ll either (tell me how much they love the band), or put me to a test and say, ‘Name one song! Tell me one thing about them!’ ” Ingram recalled, laughing. “But I won’t have any response. I’ll say, ‘Sorry, I don’t know who this is.’ ”

Ingram explained that his wardrobe selection is based purely on the comfort and look of the shirts. He’s never spent time mulling the musical impact of Metallica, or perusing Pantera’s musical catalog, but he is vowing to potentially change that in the near future.

“I’m just into old vintage tees,” Ingram said. “I like the fit, I like how the texture feels on them. I’m just into those shirts. I am into music, but I haven’t dove that deep into who these people are. Music is something that puts me in a good mood if I’m in a bad mood, so it’s done a lot for me. But I just wear them because the shirts look cool.”

Ingram then paused.

“But now that you’ve asked me all these questions,” he said to an interviewer, smiling about his need for improvement in band T-shirt knowledge, “I’m definitely going to try to look it up, so I can learn.”

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