Off the Court: Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram

New Orleans All-Star and fourth-year pro Brandon Ingram happens to be one of the quietest and most soft-spoken players on his current NBA team, but also says he might have attempted a career in the music industry if he were not an athlete. One thing that wasn’t surprising when Ingram discussed his background in basketball was the active NBA player he tried to modeled himself after, a recent league MVP and two-time champion who has a very similar body type. The 22-year-old Ingram, who played his first three pro seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, is one of a handful of current Pelicans who played college hoops at Duke. The North Carolina native discussed his background and influences with Pelicans.com:

How he chose his current uniform number of 14: “It was the closest thing to 13, and I actually didn’t realize that I could get 13 (in New Orleans this season) until the last minute. I tried to change it (back to 13, but it was too late), because that was originally my number in high school. I tried to get 13 in college also, but someone else had it already. Thirteen was my brother’s number. I ended up with 14 (at Duke) because it was the closest number to 13.”

One thing fans might be surprised to know about him: “I write music.”

What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I would become a musical artist.”

Biggest hobby outside basketball: “When I was younger, I used to like to draw some of my favorite players. As I’ve gotten older, I have more interest in music. Also, I try to sketch out my tattoos, to give the tattoo guy some idea of what I want. I’m into stuff like that.”

Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams or in other pro sports: “Jamal Murray (of Denver). Also Dejounte Murray (San Antonio) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Lakers). A friend from my hometown of Kinston, N.C., who plays in the NBA is Reggie Bullock (New York).”

Biggest lesson from playing basketball: “There is always going to be another game and another day. It’s OK to be hard on yourself, just know you have another chance to go out and prove yourself again.”

Favorite exercise besides basketball: “Boxing.”

Favorite thing about New Orleans: “It reminds me of back home. It’s very much slowed down, with good food, good people who are pretty much ride-or-die for you.”

Biggest mentor: “(Former NBA player and current Vanderbilt coach) Jerry Stackhouse. He’s kind of been my motivation, mentor since he was my AAU coach when I was in seventh or eighth grade. He’s always been in my ear, on how to make the right decisions and what I need to do to make myself a better person and better basketball player. Everything he says is pretty pure, so I thank him. He’s gotten me this far.”

Favorite healthy food: “Brussel sprouts.”

Favorite Christmas gift: “My first cell phone. My greatest Christmas memory is the last time I saw my great aunt (before she passed).”

Most surprising thing about the NBA as a rookie: “Realizing the mental capacity you’ve got to have to play 82 games. Some days I would get to the arena and I felt like I didn’t know how to play basketball. Some days I was extremely locked in. Some days I got there and didn’t want to be there. (You understand it’s important) to have the mental focus to be present the whole time you’re (playing or practicing).”

NBA player he most modeled himself after growing up: “Kevin Durant. He was the first of the long guys who can shoot the ball. He was doing so many things off the dribble, getting blocks, steals. He was the first person to create the (template of a) 6-foot-9 guy with handles. Granted, he’s 7 foot, but he created it.”

What he’s most likely to do with a full day off during the NBA season: “I’m sleeping all day.”

Best uniforms in the NBA (besides the Pelicans’): “Charlotte Hornets. They’ve got some nice colors.”