‘It’s a blessing to be a blessing’: Former basketball star building up youth in the Star City

Christian Kirchman currently coaches teens in the Roanoke Valley and runs a sports podcast and training program

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Courtesy of Christian Kirchman

Christian Kirchman has worked with Twin Hoops on and off since he was a senior in high school.

ROANOKE, Va. – No matter how much we may wish otherwise, we will never have complete control over how life unfolds. While we can be intentional with bettering ourselves, life will always continue to flow in the way that it chooses to, throwing challenges or even blessings our way that we hadn’t anticipated.

We do, however, have control over how we respond to the unexpected trials and tribulations we’re faced with. After all, life is oftentimes a reflection of your perception, a principle that former basketball star Christian Kirchman, of Roanoke, lives by.

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“It’s extremely important. How you view what you do will always affect how you do what you do,” he explained.

Many of the life lessons that the 27-year-old acquired over time, he learned while on the basketball court.

With his recently launched video podcast series, “Through the Hoop,” Kirchman takes his experience from audio to application to help build up youth in the Star City.

“The lessons that I’m trying to instill in them is that you only get one life to live and you gotta make the most of it. Control the controllable: attitude, body language, how you attack what you wanna do.”

We sat down with Kirchman to learn how his love for basketball made him into the man he is today and how he’s using all that he’s learned over the years to give back.

Shooting for the stars

The former star athlete says he’s been playing ball since he could walk and has always viewed the game of basketball as more than just a sport given that it prepared him for the game of life.

“Basketball just really molded me into who I am and why I am who I am and why I can handle adversity the way I can, think positively and always be resilient and persistent.”

He can recall being thrown one of life’s curveballs for one of the first times during his 8th-grade year of middle school. While at a basketball weekend tournament, he broke his ankle, and for the majority of the year, he was forced to the bench. But instead of viewing it as a setback, he used it as a stepping stool to success, knowing even then that maintaining a positive outlook, especially during the hard times, is key.

Those two months that I missed were probably the best thing that ever happened to me because I got to sit and watch the game. I got to see it from a different lens, instead of seeing it through that playing lens. So those two to three months that I was out, sitting and watching and being a sponge and being able to soak up the game when I came back from my injury ... it was all she wrote

Christian Kirchman

It was only up from there.

While at Patrick Henry High School, he quickly rose to stardom in basketball, averaging about 20 points per game. During his senior year in 2013-14, he was named the Conference 3 “Player of the Year” and was chosen as the all-state 6A team player.

His passion and drive would continue to fuel his success even after his high school career, helping him land a full-ride basketball scholarship to Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. In 2018, the Golden Bulls guard led the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) in assists, with an average of 6.4 per game. He also won a weekly CIAA Men’s Basketball Award and earned All-CIAA honors. That year, the team broke a school record, winning nine straight games.

Giving back to the Star City

Since then, Kirchman has hung up his basketball jersey to take on a new role as an assistant basketball coach and youth mentor alongside Jack Esworthy, his former high school coach.

Kirchman currently coaches for the Roanoke youth basketball program “Twin Hoops Sports,” runs a sports podcast “Through the Hoop” and is the co-founder of basketball training company “BeP3,” which stands for “be purposeful, passionate and persistent.” He also works in special education at William Fleming High School.

Coaching alongside Jack Esworthy is a full-circle moment for Christian Kirchman. (TyVisual)
Christian Kirchman has worked with Twin Hoops on and off since he was a senior in high school. (Courtesy of Christian Kirchman)

His “Through the Hoop” series is his most recent endeavor, and not only is he looking to create a platform where athletes can have real conversations, but he’s also hoping to offer youth in the area internship opportunities and help them reach their full potential.

He said in the future, he wants to create a team of young teens that can manage the podcast’s social media pages and learn more about the behind-the-scenes process in relation to photography, engineering and more.

“The main thing that I want these young men to understand is that you can go be something but it’s up to you,” he said. “You can’t make excuses; you can’t do the blame game; you can’t want people to do everything for you. You gotta figure out what you wanna do and you gotta work towards it.”

In all that he does, Kirchman is fulfilling what he considers his mission in life, which is to be the best father he can be to his two sons and the best mentor he can be to youth in the area.

“I feel like that’s my purpose because every time I try to get away from it, it’s like God just yanks me back up into it,” he explained. “It’s a blessing to be a blessing.”

If you’re interested in keeping up with his podcasts, the episodes premiere every two weeks on YouTube and Facebook. You can view them here.

About the Author

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

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