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Transcript: Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram media availability – July 6, 2020

Brandon Ingram Media Availability – July 6, 2020

On what he has been focusing on while away from the team:
“Well, being away from the team, I got a chance to be with family a little bit. Focused on how I can help other people in the community, in my community back home. I’ve been with my friends just keeping my body fresh, so when I was able to come back to the gym that I was going to be almost ready to get back out there.”

On why he ultimately decided to go to Orlando:
“Well, I mean I didn’t look at it as if I had a choice of going or not. I think my teammates knew that I didn’t want to sit or anything. I just want to play basketball at the end of the day. I think, like I always go back to, me being hurt made me want to come out and play basketball all the time, so when I got the chance and when I get the chance to do it, I’m just going to go do it and be full-force at it. I know that my teammates know that I’m there 100%, 110%, so I’ve got to be there. It wasn’t a question.”

On if his commitment to returning to basketball has wavered due to COVID-19 and how he will handle quarantining in Orlando mentally:
“No. I mean, to be honest with you they send out text messages, they send out emails, I really haven’t looked at any of those messages. I really haven’t looked at any of the emails. I know there is some important stuff in there. I really just took it into my own hands, and just try to be clean, try to wash my hands when I can. Whatever I can do to be safe and just make sure everybody in the household is doing the same thing. As for the players that are getting tested positive, I’ll tell everybody, I feel like I’m from Kinston…I feel like I’m immune to a lot of stuff and I’m not really worried about this virus. About the isolation part, I think I’m kind of excited for it because I’m around family all the time, and I never get a chance to just get by myself and think about things, think about different stuff in my life. I think I’m excited for that part mentally, also.”

On if his recent blood clot incident played a role in his decision to go to Orlando:
“The blood clot scare, well that was about, at this date right now that has been about a year now since that happened, so that really never crossed my mind about if I was going to not go about the blood clot scare. That’s kind of really over with as long as I do the right stuff in the weight room and the training table and whatever else.”

On if Pelicans coaches are unable to go to Orlando how will that affect his leadership role:
“Absolutely. I think at this point that we have a few guys on the team that have been to the playoffs and been in huge games and some meaningful stuff, but I think at this point, this is a time where we come together even more. We get to figure out more about each other. We get to figure out our strengths and weaknesses on the basketball floor and what we can attack each night. I think whoever goes, we’ll grow as a team even more during this isolation.”

On how much he thinks about his contract stratus during these times:
“I’ve been asked questions from different people around about my contract this offseason, but I never really sat down and just thought about it. I think that’s more for after the season. I think this season is obviously focused on being with my teammates and just playing basketball, being how last year went when I couldn’t finish the season last year, so this year was just about me going out there and showing
where I belong and showing that I can excel in this new space. I think playing in this will – it could help me out.”

On if he thinks he’s had some bad luck over the past few years with injuries and Coronavirus affecting his contracts:
“I mean, I know the way of life. I know the way of life. I know everything’s not perfect. I know there’s always going to be a bump in the road, but it’s important for me to stay positive. It’s important for me to keep my head up and just look for the next thing that I can be best at. I think I’ve got a good opportunity to go out and have another outing, hopefully win some more basketball games and get closer with my teammates. So that’s the most important thing to me. I think if I worry about those things, everything else will take care of itself and hopefully stay healthy.”

On how he can give back to his home town of Kinston, North Carolina:
“Well, we usually do around this time some stuff for the community, for the kids. Just giving back with book bags and some school supplies. This year we have a hospital up in Lenoir County, Kinston, North Carolina, and we just gave back to some of the workers. We sent out some shoes, some book bags, some water bottles and stuff, just to show my appreciation and my family showing appreciation to them because we have a lot of cases down in Lenoir County also. Just giving back things to the front line workers up there, so we’ve done some stuff in New Orleans, also. Just giving food to the community and some groceries, so just making sure we’re doing our part.”

On how excited he is to have the opportunity to continue to play this season:
“We’re very excited. I think we were building some momentum to getting better and better each and every day. Of course, we haven’t reached where we want to go, and we’re a long ways away, but I think we’re getting steps closer and closer to where we want to be at. I think at this point we’ve got a chance to have some rest. I know that’s good for the old guys, but for some of the young guys, we should be very fresh and just ready to run and play our games.”

On how far the Pelicans’ chemistry and development as a team have come over this past year:
“I get excited every day when I come inside the practice facility and just see the guys working in the morning. Nobody behind them telling them to work out or anything, just them having the right attitude coming in here every single day. Just knowing from that point, I know it’s something good in the room. We have a lot of young guys. That’s something you don’t see from a lot of young guys that can come in and be professionals and get their work in and know exactly what they need on the basketball floor, so I think that’s the part that gets me more excited. Just us coming in here competing every single day, putting in the work that we need to put in. That’s how we’re going to reach our ceiling.”

On how excited he is to play and prove himself in a playoff-type situation in Orlando:
“I don’t think ‘prove’ is the right word. I think I’m just excited to compete. I think every time we get on the basketball floor, I think that’s the biggest word is just compete…compete, compete, compete. I think with that we just have to bring the effort. The easiest part is on the offensive end. I think we all know how to get the ball in the basket and make the right play. I think it’s the defensive end we have to pay attention to, put urgency on, and pay attention to every detail in every minute of the game.”

On if he’s more appreciative of basketball and anxious to play because he hasn’t been able to:
“I mean, that could be the reason. Another reason could just be because I love basketball and like being with my teammates. I mean, every time stuff like this happens, you do get a little more appreciation for the things that you go and work for, for your family, so I think I’m definitely more appreciative to get back on the floor.”

On if he has thought about the potential of playing the Lakers in the playoffs if the Pelicans get through the seeding games:
“Yeah. That’s crossed everybody’s mind. That’s some of the stuff that people around the organization or some of the trainers in here, they talk about us facing our old team and being in the first round against the Lakers. From a player’s standpoint, I think our focus is one game at a time. I think each one of these games are very important for us, trying to get into the playoffs and try to face these guys. I think then we’ll worry about if we’re going against the Lakers.”

On how confident he is about the possibility of being with the Pelicans organization long term:
“Well, that’s definitely a question that will be answered after the season. How I feel right now, I feel really good about this team. Like I said, we’re all at a good age where we are trying to tap into our potential and getting better each and every day, and we come in and compete. I see a lot of young guys that can be here in this league for a very long time, not because of their basketball talent but just because of the attitude and their character when they come inside the building. So I feel like I’m in a good spot right now, I like where I’m at. But that’s a decision that is going to have a lot of factors and that will happen after the season.”

On the adjustment to playing without fans:
“Fans get a lot of stuff going. On some bad nights that we have, we use the fans to get us going and to get us hype, but I think this is our time. We have to use our own juice, our own energy…just like going back to open gym where we’re just trying to go at each other and trying to make the best out of each other, but trying to do it in the right way. I think this is a time where we have to feed off of other people on the team and feed off the fire of the bench.”

On how confident he is that the NBA will be able to pull off the Orlando ‘bubble’ and be able to finish the season:
“I’m not that confident about that. It looks like everything is going through (with) Orlando or whatever. Like you said, new cases are coming up, different things are happening. I’m not very confident, but they’ve got us going to Orlando on the eighth so we’ll see.”

On the most important thing to him when navigating the free agency process:
“The most important thing to me at this time in my career is (being) where I can show my talent the best, where people can see that I can do everything on the basketball floor, where I’m in a good position, where somebody’s going to push me every single day, that I’m in love with the environment (and) the people I’m around, and just guys around that can ultimately win a couple of championships, win a championship, or whatever it is. The ultimate goal is to win. So wherever we can do that the most, that’s where I want to be.”

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