Kelvin Torbert was Michigan’s Mr. Basketball in 2001 before playing college ball at Michigan State. With his playing days behind him, Torbert has launched a new endeavor as a children’s book author. We talk with Kelvin Torbert and co-author Kellen Brandon about “KT and the Radical Roundball.”
Kelvin Torbert is one of the greatest high school basketball players in Michigan history. After winning the state’s “Mr. Basketball” award in 2001, Torbert went on to play at Michigan State and professionally overseas. Now, Torbert is the co-author of a recently published children’s book, entitled KT and the Radical Roundball. Kellen Brandon, the other co-author, is publishing the book through his company Brandon Publishing.
Current State sat down with Torbert and Brandon to discuss the new book.
“The character KT is a younger version of me – kind of like a spin-off of my childhood,” says Torbert.
The story is about a kid that loves basketball and has a few obstacles – including a new kid in town from Texas - on the way to self-improvement, according to Torbert.
“It’s a children’s book that educates kids on how to be humble and better themselves,” says Torbert.
The book takes place in Flint, where Torbert and Brandon both grew up. Brandon is passionate about increasing literacy in his hometown and other urban areas. He says that starting his publishing company opened his eyes to the deficiencies in youth literacy.
“I was able to get speaking engagements, and all the sudden things came into play for me,” says Brandon.
“I was a former athlete who realized at that time how important literacy was to my success.”
While Torbert stayed in state to pursue collegiate basketball, Brandon played at Tennessee State University. Torbert is also aware of the important role he plays as a public figure.
“Coach Izzo puts a huge emphasis on [community outreach],” says Torbert. “The best thing that we can do is to show our face and be around for the kids.”
The “Kelvin Torbert Hope for a Better Tomorrow” foundation allows the former MSU star to do just that. The non-profit organization primarily focuses on cancer research.
So what about that new kid from Texas? It’s Brandon.
“I’ve been friends with Kelvin since high school,” says Brandon. “I moved to Texas for a few years, then linked up with Kelvin through basketball when I moved back.”
That relationship is what helped Brandon turn an idea into a reality.
“This has been a vision of mine for a while,” says Brandon.
“It took a little longer for [Torbert] to buy in until he realized what we could do to impact the youth.”
Article by Ethan Merrill, Current State intern