Eleven-year-old Ken Brady was camped out along one baseline. His twin brother, Kel, situated himself on the opposite side of the court inside MTM Fieldhouse at Collierville High on Oct. 22.
They were surrounded by thousands of fans who squeezed their way in and sardined themselves into the stands, all there to watch Bronny James, Ashton Hardaway, Justin Pippen, Curtis Givens III and other high-profile high school basketball players put on a show in the Mid-South Basketball Classic exhibition game. The Brady boys – whose family moved to Memphis from Florence, Alabama, in 2020 – were riveted, capturing as much video footage of the action and interactions as they could on their matching iPhones.
Then, at halftime, things got stressful. Kel rushed over to his brother, iPhone in hand, in borderline panic mode. Its battery wasn’t going to last the rest of the game and neither one brought a charger.
That’s when Ken, with surprising poise and composure, quickly came up with a solution.
“Here’s what you’re gonna do,” he told his brother. “Put the phone on low power mode and don’t film the whole second half. We should have enough for a few edits.”
As it turns out, the Bradys aren’t just basketball fans. They are aspiring professionals. Budding sports journalists determined to learn the ropes and grind their way up the ladder. With the help and support of their mother, Danae, a native Memphian and former North Alabama women’s basketball player, they’ve covered dozens of high school games. They’ve chronicled action from the She Got Game League, a semi-pro women’s basketball organization that was founded in Memphis. They’ve interviewed the likes of Baylor star Keyonte George, Michigan standout Jett Howard and Grizzlies rookie Kennedy Chandler. They’ve rubbed elbows with Allen Iverson. All the while making a name for themselves and carving out a growing niche.
The Bradys co-host their own YouTube show – “Sports Talk with Ken and Kel” – which features a mix of self-produced highlight packages (or, edits that are put together using CapCut) and interviews, as well as videos co-hosted by the twins where they discuss and debate the latest national and local news.
The strong opinions and entertaining banter that makes up much of “Sports Talk with Ken and Kel” began innocently enough, according to their mother.
“I would take them to the barber shop and when I would come back to pick them up, the barbers started asking me to drop them back off so they could finish talking sports with them,” said Danae. “They just loved them being in their space. Every Friday, they’d spend two or three hours at the shop, sweeping up hair and talking about sports. So, it was like, ‘Let’s do something with this.”
While that may have been the genesis of what has become a burgeoning social media presence (more than 650 Instagram followers and 73 subscribers on YouTube, where one of their videos has more than 23,000 views), Danae knew much earlier that her sons were destined for a future in front of the camera. Ken and Kel got their start on the stage with parts in “Madagascar Jr.: The Musical” at The Shoals Community Theatre in Florence.
“As far back as when they were, like, 3, people would say, ‘You better get a camera on them soon,’ or, ‘Where’s their agent? I’ll help you find them one,’” she said. “They weren’t allowed to say they were class clowns. But they made their classmates laugh a lot and their teachers loved them.”
Ken and Kel, home-schooled now, began to veer toward sports in recent years as they bonded with their grandfather, Rorey Lawrence Sr. While they both play sports – Ken, a football player at Hickory Ridge Middle, and Kel, a basketball player at Memphis Business Academy Middle – their passion is analyzing the games and learning the tricks of the multimedia trade.
The Bradys consider the Iverson Classic All-American game in May as one of their first big breaks. It’s where they were introduced to Bobby Bates, who organizes the event. It’s where they met Eric Newman, who works in video production for Television City Studios (formerly CBS Television Studios).
“(Newman) took us to the CBS media truck,” said Ken. “He showed us how they control the volume, how they do the ankles, the ads. Just all that stuff. It was really cool and it opened my eyes a little bit.”
Most recently, the Brady brothers covered the Battle in the Bluff, a 42-game event at Bartlett featuring a litany of top high school recruits. In the leadup, Ken and Kel were hoping to score interviews with 5-star prospects Trentyn Flowers and A.J. Johnson, as well as 4-star Jermaine O’Neal Jr.
They hope to continue their growth and lend their voices to coverage of the University of Memphis men’s basketball team as well as the Grizzlies, their hometown NBA team.
“I want to be a sports analyst,” said Kel. “I just love the way (basketball) is played. And, for the most part, we try to be ourselves in every interview we do. I think that works perfectly with our personality.”
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at email@example.com or on Twitter @munzly.