Kevin Durant: The Backpack Baller

backpack baller durant

If you follow my site any, you know that I don’t ever push any products and I don’t advertise. Part of that has to do with the fact that Word Press won’t allow you to place ads in your blog. But I also don’t advertise because I don’t want to. This is purely a labor of love for me. I do it for free and I do it because it is a hobby of mine to write about my team. While I don’t advertise on my site, I wouldn’t be opposed to supporting something that I feel is worthwhile, though.

Recently, I received an email from Brad Graham regarding a project he was working on. The project is a 250 page book chronicling the rise of Kevin Durant.

Here’s Brad summary of the book:

The Backpack Baller: The Fantastical Basketball Voyage of Kevin Durant will be a 250 page magnum opus taking a forensic and satellite view of KD’s on-court conquests, as well as his off-court challenges. 

The book will explore his devotion, brilliance, and cultural standing, and much like the player on which it’s based, The Backpack Baller is non-traditional. Neatly broken up into a series of essays, magazine-style features, and interviews with Durant himself, the book will cover everything KD has touched over his first 25 years. 

During the early stages of research, the book’s author, Brad Graham, planned to write a sprawling 5000 word magazine article, but after conversing with a collection of renowned reporters, international fans, Durant’s childhood friends who now play pro, his teammates, competitors, retired greats of the gam, and of course, the man himself, Brad realized there was more than enough content to craft a compelling book – and with his background in graphic design, he was just the man to take on such an ambitious project. 

Now, I’m skeptical by nature, especially when it comes to receiving something via email. But the more I read into the project, the more I wanted to find out whether this was something legit. So I emailed Brad back and asked him about the project, and more specifically, whether Durant, himself, knew about the book. This was his response:

Yes, KD is well aware of the book…so is Nike, the NBA, the communications/front office staff at the Thunder… Okay, so the story in short is: I wanted KD to be involved and was dealing with Mary at Goodwin Sports before KD left their company and moved over to Rob Pelinka’s Landmark Sports Agency. While with that representation, Joe, Rob’s East Coast chief (who’s based in NYC) was assisting with getting the book deal done. Then, as you know, Durant jumped over to RocNation. It was there, mid this year, that I hit a major road block.

After RocNation was unresponsive, I discussed my options (in detail) with both Joe and the book’s editor, Brian, and elected to go the independent route (just to get the First Edition to market). With ten years publishing industry experience, I knew I could get the book done. I’ve published international magazines before….but still needed to raise the funds to cover the printing/distribution costs.

I sat down with Kevin back in March and went through the book with him then, he was somewhat overwhelmed by the depth of the book (six years worth of research and interviews will do that). Since, I’ve been relaying everything via John Read at the Thunder – he has been great. I now have a guy in D.C. talking with Kevin’s camp and my guy in LA is working on things for phase two.

I also took the book to a few literary agents (earlier this year) but they had a hard time selling it/understanding their role and my overall vision because it was basically a finished product: written, edited, and designed — thus I was more in need of a distributor over a publishing house who’d develop the book.

I know its somewhat backwards, but rather than hand over creative control or spend months trying to find the right deal, I figured I’d take the book to the people, have them support it. The plan, as you know, is to raise the $35K by Dec. 31 so we can print a hardcover, first edition version….from there, it’s about obtaining Kevin’s official endorsement for a second edition, mass market version. Which may not be as collectible.

KickStarter was just one avenue I thought was worth exploring and believe it gives KD/Thunder/NBA fans a chance to not only own a copy of the book, but be involved in making it happen — I like the idea of giving people a chance to own a piece of publishing history while helping to deliver their favorite player’s journey to the market.

His response made me a believer in the project. As sports fans, we are always collecting mementos; be they jerseys, cards, autographs, ticekts, etc. This book would only add to that list of collectibles. And the good thing is, KD knows about this project and seems to be behind it. No athlete likes to put their stamp on something about themselves, unless a world renowned author is involved. This is probably the reason Durant is not directly involved.

Brad’s project has been featured in the basketball magazine SLAM. Here’s an excerpt from it.

As a sports blogger, I know the feeling of crafting something and releasing it to the public. When others read what you wrote and enjoy it, it makes it all worthwhile. To me, this seems like a good project to rally behind. Of course, every good project needs support, and that’s where Brad’s KickStarter page comes into play. He needs your support to get this project published and released. Any amount will help and there are rewards given when you pledge certain amounts.

For more information, you can visit Brad’s KickStarter page here.

You can also check out the book’s blog here.

And if you want to further get in contact with Brad, here are a couple options:

Twitter: @BackpackBaller

Email: backpackballerbook@gmail.com

Again, I’ve never pushed anything on my site, and I am not profiting off of this either. But this is something that I, myself, am supporting and just wanted to see if you guys wanted to be a part of it. Thanks for your time and support of this site.

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Never been a writer. Probably will never be a writer. But always a fan.

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