Peacock’s basketball film ‘Shooting Stars’ revolves around a young LeBron James in high school, obsessed with playing basketball with his friends Little Dru, Willie McGee, and Sain Cotton. The four friends join St. Vincent–St. Mary High School rather than the local Buchtel High School since Dru feels that he will not make it to the varsity team of the latter. Upon joining St. Vincent, the four friends are joined by Romeo Travis, with whom they form the “Fab Five.” Intrigued by the film, we have found out whether the Chris Robinson directorial is really the “origin” story of one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Well, here’s what we can share about the same!
Is Shooting Stars a True Story?
Yes, ‘Shooting Stars’ is based on a true story. The film is an adaptation of LeBron James’ eponymous autobiographical book, which he co-wrote with Buzz Bissinger. As the film depicts, LeBron’s career as a basketball player started with him finding a place in the Northeast Ohio Shooting Stars basketball team, which was coached by “Coach Dru.” LeBron teamed up with Sian Cotton, Dru Joyce III, and Willie McGee to cherish immense success with the team. When it was time for joining a high school, the four friends chose St. Vincent–St. Mary High School, a Catholic – predominantly White school, over Buchtel High School.
“The four of us may have been brothers to one another. But to many in Akron’s black community, we were now traitors who had sold out to the white establishment. They wondered how four talented African American kids like LeBron James and Sian Cotton and Willie McGee and Little Dru Joyce could play at any high school other than Buchtel,” James wrote in ‘Shooting Stars,’ the source text of the film. Their decision to join St. Vincent changed their lives as they met “Romeo” at the school. Romeo Travis became the missing link in the “bicycle chain” that was “Fab Four.”
Travis then turned the Fab Four into the Fab Five. Together, the five immensely talented basketball players started to aim for the championship. LeBron, Sian, Dru, Willie, and Travis played vital roles in several wins of their high school basketball team as the film depicts. “We truly were invincible. Nobody could beat us,” LeBron wrote in his book. However, their winning streak ended with a defeat against Amityville High School from Long Island. But LeBron and his teammates/friends didn’t lose hope. Under the leadership of Coach Dru, St. Vincent eventually got ranked first in USA Today’s high school basketball rankings.
Along with success, LeBron had to struggle with the difficulties of fame. As the film showcases, high school wasn’t just happiness and contentment for the growing basketball talent. “The attention, at least the positive attention, was intoxicating. I am not going to deny that. But part of me just hungered to be a regular high school kid. I knew I couldn’t be that anymore. Celebrity as an eighteen-year-old? Believe me, it wasn’t worth it,” LeBron wrote in ‘Shooting Stars.’ Irrespective of all the challenges he had to face outside the court, LeBron was determined to taste victory with his “brothers.” Fulfilling their dream, “Fab Five” went on to win the Division II championship before parting ways to kickstart their individual journeys.
More than a basketball film, ‘Shooting Stars’ is a film about brotherhood. The Chris Robinson directorial succeeds in showcasing the admirable strength of the relationship between LeBron and his “brothers.” “We obviously don’t see each other as much as we used to. When we do, there is still the same music of laughter and chatter. […] Whatever my status in the NBA, they still treat me like their brother. We are, as Sian put it, ‘friends for life.’ And what can be more important than that? Nothing that I know of. We remain a family, wherever our paths take us. We remain the Fab Five,” LeBron wrote in his autobiographical book.
Although the film is the origin story of LeBron and his “Fab Five,” there is a lot in it for “everyone” to relate to the same, said director Robinson. “I think I was really attracted to this film when I read the script because it feels like a story everyone kind of goes through. Friendships, the village that raises you, the coaches that take their time, the parents that take their time and drive you to practice… all those points build a foundation that, I think, you can use as a launchpad to get whenever you want to get,” the director told FOX 5.
‘Shooting Stars’ is an appealing and heart-touching tribute to the hard work and commitment of LeBron to become one of the greatest to grace the NBA. The film authentically depicts what made LeBron the player he has become now.
Read More: Where Was Shooting Stars Filmed?