(CTN News) – With just 1.3 seconds left on the clock, Matt Ryan; the Los Angeles Lakers were facing a 1-6 start against the New Orleans Pelicans. When they needed a miracle, who did they turn to? Isn’t it four-time MVP LeBron James? Not at all.
Let’s see… Anthony Davis, an eight-time All-Star? Take a second guess. The Lakers gave the ball to a former delivery driver named Matt Ryan, who swished a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime in the hour of greatest need. In the end, the Lakers won.
Who is Matt Ryan, the Lakers’ hero of the day? No, it’s not the now-benched Indianapolis Colts quarterback moonlighting as a basketball player in search of a new job, but his story is just as unlikely.
Where did this guy come from?
As a collegiate player, Matt Ryan was a Parade All-American. There’s not much normal about his rise to NBA fame. Originally from New Rochelle, New York, Ryan attended Notre Dame.
While he played in 72 games over two seasons, he transferred to Vanderbilt to gain more playing time. Jerry Stackhouse replaced Bryce Drew after he sat out a year as the Commodores’ starting quarterback.
Ryan later transferred to Chattanooga, where he finished his collegiate career, rather than play for the former NBA star.
His college career did not suggest that he was destined for professional success. After leaving major conference college basketball, Ryan averaged double figures.
Although he excelled at shooting, he fell short of 37 percent from deep over four seasons. He appeared to be a four-year college player destined for a diversified career path.
However, that wasn’t the case
At least that was the case at first. As Matt Ryan told The Athletic’s Jay King, Ryan decided not to use his Vanderbilt economics degree for a desk job after going undrafted in 2020.
His job was landscaping St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Yonkers, New York. As a way to supplement his income, he worked as a delivery driver for UberEats and DoorDash. Meanwhile, he waited for another chance to play basketball.
Normally, such an opportunity would have presented itself pretty quickly. The COVID-19 pandemic peaked in 2020 and 2021.
Due to that, workout opportunities were significantly more difficult to come by. As a result, Ryan sat out. He began his journey to the NBA anew when the Cleveland Cavaliers offered him a spot on their 2021 Summer League team.
It was a nomadic year
During his four games for the Cavaliers in Vegas, Matt Ryan averaged 26.5 points while shooting over 48 percent from deep. After that, Cleveland did not sign him, but the Denver Nuggets did.
In 12 games with their G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold, Ryan averaged 12.1 points. Eventually, he signed with the Boston Celtics on a two-way deal after being drafted by the Maine Celtics.