Huge thanks to the following media / outlets for their support...
In short, Brian (the Book's Editor) and I have been overwhelmed by the level of support we've received from each of these media / outlets. From SLAM to Dime; from Sekou Smith's Hang Time Podcast on NBA.com to Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard blog; they've all been keen to help spread the word about The Backpack Baller and for that, we say thank you. Power to the people.
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Kevin Durant already has a scoring championship. An NBA one will follow, and the Hall of Fame after that. Get to know his full story ahead of the curve in this informative book. I liked it so much I agreed to excerpt it in SLAM!
— Ben Osborne, Editor-in-Chief
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ABOUT 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 K.D'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 K.D 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 game and of course, the man
himself, Brad realised 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.
Dimensions: 190mm x 270mm
Folio count: 250
Full color (CMYK)
Multiple paper stocks
... And here's how the entire First Chapter will look:
The 5th Chapter (aka Kevin Durant's rookie season in Seattle)...
SNAP, CRACKLE & POP(-CULTURE).
Lets face it, there's nothing like a pop-culture mash-up. Here's how one such image was built just for the The Backpack Baller...
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TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Prologue. Kevin's signature attire
Chapter 01. The 2012 NBA Finals
Chapter 02. Kevin's childhood
Chapter 03. University of Texas
Chapter 04. The 2007 NBA Draft
Chapter 05. Rookie season in Seattle
Chapter 06. Relocation and Kevin's debut in OKC
Chapter 07. K.D's meteoric third NBA season
Chapter 08. 2010 World Champs in Turkey
Chapter 09. Kevin's fourth NBA campaign
Chapter 10. Recap of the 2011 Lockout
Chapter 11. Kevin's incredible fifth season
Chapter 12. Durant's most significant stats
Chapter 13. K.D's collision course with LeBron James
Chapter 14. The 2012 London Olympics
Chapter 15. Understanding Kevin's place in history
Chapter 16. Kevin as the ultimate brand pitchman
Epilogue. The Ryan Gosling of Basketball
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Inside The Backpack Baller, there'll also be a 20 page (min.) spotlight on Kevin's footwear history and signature sneaker series... here's a preview:
Additionally, there'll be a pair of lengthy conversations with K.D entitled "Made In America" (sample below) where fans will be able to read unfiltered conversations with the NBA superstar...
... And best of all, for all you coffee-table book lovers, there'll be plenty of images / graphs to support the colorful copy (such the images below from the "Kevinomics" spotlight)...
... and finally, there are stacks of chapter breaks which highlight Kevin's accomplishments and frame them within a historical context (like the tightest scoring races in NBA history, which K.D has been a part of on more than one occasion).
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WHO WILL LIKE THIS BOOK?
The Backpack Baller is for fans of: K.D; basketball; design books; origin stories; unconventional biographies; the intersection of athletic culture and modern Americana; and / or reading something cool while waiting for the bus, plane or train.
As per our photo agency agreement, the images shown are for display purposes only and are "on loan" until we the book's publication is confirmed. While the majority of images on display have been given final publishing approval, there are still a number of key images for which we are still seeking final clearance.
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Jan. 2014 -- Complete the designs. Proof the text. Compile the Kickstarter contributions.
Feb. 2014. / Mar. 2014 -- Print and distribute relevant backer rewards.
Apr. 2014 -- Commence development of The Backpack Baller for tablet and mobile devices.
May. 2014 -- Secure a publisher for a soft cover second edition.
To help make The Backpack Baller a reality, contributions are needed to raise funding for the following:
Final stages of production
Conceptual design and layout refinement
Final page proofing
First edition printing
Paper stock upgrades
Custom metallic cover ink printing
Custom individually stamped cover stickers
Rights to cover portrait
Rights to all licensed internal images
Obtaining a ISBN
Administration administrative fees
$50k will bring down the cost per unit allowing a small surplus and greater distribution flexibility
$75k will allow the development, release and promotion of Kindle, Apple and Android versions of the book
$100k will allow the principles to create and open a boutique publication house dedicated to specialized print and digital basketball books, including two other titles envisioned as sequels to The Backpack Baller
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Backpack Baller is NOT an autobiography.
While Kevin Durant is aware and supportive of the project -- he has read and likes the book -- he isn't directly involved, and nor is K.D receiving a cut of the money raised via KickStarter.
The funds generated here are solely being raised for the purposes of covering the costs to finish and produce a hardcover, first edition printed book and relevant reward items. Should this campaign prove to be successful, however, the author's goal is to work with Kevin Durant on a soft cover second edition mass market release.
The Backpack Baller is more than a celebration of one athlete's meteoric rise from skinny high school kid to global icon.
It's a new kind athlete biography, one that's constructed like a movie soundtrack.
This proposed book is both grounded and visceral.
It's a long-form documentary that covers all you've ever wanted to know about the Maryland bred, Texas raised, Oklahoma fostered talent whose affinity for Naismith's game has created a new kind of modern marvel.
This KickStarter campaign requires $35,000 to cover all of the creative, planning, production, printing, shipping, design and editing costs for the First Edition, hardcover version of The Backpack Baller: The Fantastical Basketball Voyage of Kevin Durant.
Risks and challenges
Pixel is king. Print is dead.
With people increasingly favoring their handheld devices for information, some of the audience that could once be expected to support projects like The Backpack Baller have now clearly moved into the digital space. This is a challenge without a solution, but to ameliorate some of its effects, Brad is working on delivering a collection of attractive and memorable spreads that are best enjoyed in printed form and trusting that his fellow "print media romantics" will appreciate the final product's ambition and fineness of design.
If you pledge to the $35.00 (or higher) reward, a 250-page, hardcover, First Edition, printed copy of the book will be delivered to your door in February 2014... If you pledge to the $35.00 reward (or higher), you won't be charged a second time for the book but you may incur a small postage charge of around $10.00. Either way, it's a bargain and the best way to get your hands on The Backpack Baller.
The book is actually 85% complete (as of December 6, 2013) with The Backpack Baller's designer, Brad Graham, continuing production on the spreads so that more of the book can be viewed throughout the KickStarter campaign.
The $35,000 that is being raised is so the book can be professionally proofed, the designs tightened, the rights to the various images obtained and the costs for custom printing as well as binding and distribution covered.
The money isn't for the author to research and then write the book, rather, it's so the book can be completed and the product delivered to those who want a hardcover, First Edition.
Yes, Kevin Durant 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 K.D to be involved and was dealing with Goodwin Sports before KD left their company and moved over to Rob Pelinka’s Landmark Sports Agency. While with that representation, Rob’s East Coast chief (who’s based in NYC) was assisting with getting the book deal done. Then, Durant jumped over to RocNation Sports. It was there, in mid 2013, that I hit a major road block.
After RocNation was unresponsive, I discussed my options (in detail) with 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 finishing / 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 then, I’ve been relaying everything via the OKC Thunder. 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, should we reach the KickStarter total.
I also took the book to a few literary agents (earlier this year) but they had a hard time selling it / understanding their role, not to mention my overall vision, because it was basically a finished product: 80% complete, written, edited, and designed.
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, should we raise the $35K by Dec. 31 is to obtain Kevin’s official endorsement for a second edition, mass market version. Which may not be as collectible.
KickStarter was just one avenue worth exploring and believe it gives K.D / 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.
KEVIN NATION ARMY.
A donation of $5 will secure your name (and hometown) in the back of the book under the banner "Kevin's Army" to ensure other loyal fans (and possibly the man himself) know you're a serious supporter.
In addition to The KEVIN NATION ARMY Reward #1... A digital "text only" version of the The Backpack Baller will be emailed directly to you shortly after the print edition has been received by $35+ backers.
SUPPORT YOU CAN WEAR.
This pledge tier is for those who want to wear their support for The Backpack Baller; $25 will get you an exclusive official Backpack Baller book t-shirt as well as the THUNDEROUS TEXT Reward #2.
This level of pledge earns: a set of four limited edition The Backpack Baller postcards; a pack of six The Backpack Baller coasters; The Backpack Baller book official t-shirt (SUPPORT YOU CAN WEAR Reward #3); The Backpack Baller classic movie-inspired poster (SCORING TITLE Reward #5); AND, of course, The Backpack Baller hardcover, individually numbered, first edition book itself (ALL-STAR Reward #4).
Everything from Reward #6, plus your hardcover, first edition book will include a handwritten, personalized message from the author -- signed and dated -- and the entire package will be housed in a custom-made wooden box.