Kinston community behind its basketball superstar, Brandon Ingram

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KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – People in Kinston understand there’s a certain perception about their city, about crime. Some even bring up the string of shootings as of late.

However, seeing Brandon Ingram move puts some optimism in their city. Are people just getting used to seeing a star athlete from their city in the spotlight?

Kinston has a number of athletes that have gone pro, not just in basketball. People said the draft parties, the excitement and everything that comes along with having a pro athlete from your town never gets old.

Kinston, North Carolina. The home of champions. The less-than 25,000 person town is home to more than a dozen pro athletes.

“It’s very exciting every time,” said Curtis Hines, who played with Ingram.

Ingram, the projected lottery pick in the NBA’s 2016 Draft, is from Kinston. Those who know and love the small southern city say when someone like Ingram makes it, the whole city makes it.

“All people hear about is the shootings here, but it’s a lot of good coming from this city,” Hines said.

“It’s not violence, it’s happiness,” Skip Miller, community member, added.

Ingram’s former principals said he’s one of the best kids you’ll ever meet.

“Brandon was not only an obviously fantastic athlete, but he was also a great student,” Nicholas Harvey, Ingram’s former principal, said.

“He is one that can show that this community we raise and we cultivate and groom productive citizens,” Tina Letchworth, another one of Ingram’s former principals noted.

No matter where 9 On Your Side went, everybody in Kinston had nothing but good things to say about the basketball standout.

“What better person to have represent Kinston than Brandon,” Hines said.

From the school system to the gym, to the barbershop and everywhere in between, it’s safe to say Kinston is proud of Ingram. If he is chosen second in the draft, he’ll be the highest pick to come from Kinston.

Regardless of what happens, everyone is proud of him.

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