FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. -- It’s the second year for the Branded For Knowledge basketball tournament in Forsyth County. A tournament that showcases ninth grade teams in the county.
The Frank Spencer, Mary Garber and David Lash basketball tournaments have been around for a long time, which shows the steep tradition of holiday hoops in the county.
The Branded For Knowledge tournament is about more than crowning a champion. The tournament starts with a banquet for the young men. They get to eat well and hear from a speaker.
This year's speaker was Jalen Bledsoe, a 17-year-old from St. Louis, Mo., who started his own web design company at the age of 13 and by the age of 17 the Jalen D. Bledsoe Global Group has contracts with companies like AT&T, Ford Motor Company and K-Swiss.
The organizer of the tournament and CEO of Branded For Knowledge Bobby Kimbrough says, “Growing up in east Winston, I didn’t have to arrive at the place I arrived at, but I had people in my life that told me that I go do and be anything that I wanted to.”
Kimbrough began his career with a basketball scholarship to Pfeiffer University and translated that to becoming a police officer with the Winston-Salem Police Department. He later became a special agent with the Department of Justice and has met and worked with every president in office since he began in 1994.
He wanted to touch lives in a different way as he neared retirement after a very successful 30 year law enforcement career. “Athletics are great I love sports but at the same time then what, the truth of the matter is if you ain’t got knowledge you’re still lost, knowledge is the only emancipator."
Which led Kimbrough to Bledsoe. The 17-year-old millionaire who says “for youth, the message is knowledge and the will to succeed, the will to have a dream and achieve big.” Branding them with knowledge on and off the court.