‘Shooting Stars’ is a sports drama film that chronicles the life of LeBron James (Mookie Cook) as a teenager, playing basketball with his friends – Little Dru (Caleb McLaughlin), Willie McGee (Avery Wills), and Sian Cotton (Khalil Everage) – who together with him are famously known as the Fab Five, in high school. Directed by Chris Robinson, the film is based on the eponymous memoir by LeBron James, published in August 2009.
A story about the brotherhood between the five friends as much as their love and talent for basketball, ‘Shooting Stars’ depiction of the legendary basketball player’s early days and his struggle with fame is a must-watch. If you enjoyed the film’s premise, then we have a list of recommendations that we believe you might enjoy just as much. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Shooting Stars’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. Sweetwater (2023)
‘Sweetwater’ is a sports drama film that revolves around Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton (Everett Osborne) and his journey from a young boy in New Orleans to becoming the first African American player to sign with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the 1950s, and of the people who made it possible. ‘Sweetwater,’ directed by Martin Guigui, is similar to ‘Shooting Stars’ as it is also based on the early life and career of a prominent basketball player in the United States who inspired countless others to take to the court.
7. Hurricane Season (2009)
‘Hurricane Season,’ directed by Tim Story, follows Al Collins (Forest Whitaker), the basketball coach at John Ehret high school in Marrero, Louisiana, who gathers children from other high schools to train them and enter the Louisiana State Championship. The entire basketball team consists of children who have lost their own schools, along with precious other things, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Collins’ effort to bring them together is as much about the game of basketball as it is about giving the children something to focus on after the devastating natural disaster that rocked the entire State. ‘Hurricane Season’ is based on a true story and features a high school basketball team who, despite facing numerous challenges, prove their mettle on the court, much like ‘Shooting Stars.’
6. The Way Back (2020)
Directed by Gavin O’Connor, ‘The Way Back’ centers around Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck), an alcoholic ironworker and former star basketball player of a Catholic high school. When the high school’s basketball coach passes away due to a heart attack, Jack is approached by Father Devine, who offers him the job. Though reluctant at first, Jack accepts the offer and begins training a team that is slowly losing interest in the game.
But if Jack wants to whip up the basketball team into shape, he needs to do the same with himself first. Quite like ‘Shooting Stars,’ ‘The Way Back’ speaks of the life-changing effects a beloved sport, when pursued with respect and dedication, can have on a person. It also delves into the players and their coach’s life beyond the game, the same as how the Fab Five are depicted off the court.
5. The Rookie (2002)
‘The Rookie’ chronicles the life of Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid), a high school science teacher and baseball coach with abandoned dreams of playing in the Major League. Dissuaded by his father and a shoulder injury early on in life, Jim abandons his dreams but not his love for the game and coaches a high school baseball team – the Big Lake Owls. But his fate starts to take a turn for the better when Jim discovers that he can still throw a fastball during practice and is encouraged by his students to participate in the tryouts for new players looking to make a name for themselves in baseball.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, ‘The Rookie’ is based on the true story of Jim Morris, the oldest rookie in baseball history at the age of 35, and how, in the end, his skill and talent as a pitcher prevailed – much the same as ‘Shooting Stars’ in its depiction of the Fab Five’s talent and skills, which were constantly judged because they joined a predominantly white high school.
4. Coach Carter (2005)
Directed by Thomas Carter, the film centers upon Richmond high school’s basketball coach, Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) – a strict and uncompromising man – who puts the entire basketball team through the wringer both on the court and in the classroom. He creates contracts for each of the players to sign, which list out what they must achieve academically in order to stay on the team.
Though met with protests at first from both students, players, and teachers alike, Coach Carter’s method proves effective as the team members start doing well both on and off the basketball court. Much the same as ‘Shooting Stars,’ ‘Coach Carter’ is also based on a real-life account and shows how the real-life Richmond high school basketball team went on to earn scholarships and go to colleges, much like the members of the Fab Five.
3. A League of Their Own (1992)
‘A League of Their Own’ tells the story of the formation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1943 during World War II. With no matches taking place, Major League Baseball is on the verge of shutting down, but Chicago Cubs owner Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) isn’t giving up hope just yet. He persuades his fellow co-owners to invest in a women’s league, thus forming the Rockford Peaches.
The women’s baseball team is managed by Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). With tickets barely selling for the games, would the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League survive? Directed by Penny Marshall, ‘A League of Their Own’ is based on true events and tells of one of the most pivotal points in the history of baseball, much like ‘Shooting Stars.’
2. King Richard (2021)
‘King Richard’ follows the life of Richard Williams (Will Smith), a former tennis coach, and his efforts to turn his two daughters, Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), into star tennis players. He, along with his wife Brandy (Aunjanue Ellis), a nurse, go to great lengths to provide their daughters the best training and the best coaches possible in the hopes that one day both of them will go professional and earn fame and riches throughout the world.
Though the film, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, focuses on Richard Williams, it does depict star tennis players Venus and Serena Williams’ childhood – much like how ‘Shooting Stars’ presents a glimpse into LeBron James’ life as a teenager.
1. The Blind Side (2009)
Directed by John Lee Hancock and based on the 2006 book ‘The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game’ written by Michael Lewis, ‘The Blind Side’ revolves around Michael “Big Mike” Oher (Quinton Aaron), a 17-year-old who’s been bounced around in foster care due to his mother’s drug addiction. His large stature impresses Burt Cotton (Ray McKinnon), the football coach at Wingate Christian School, who enrolls Michael to have him play on the school team.
Once there, Michael befriends Sean Tuohy Jr. (Jae Head), who introduces him to his parents, Leigh Anne (Sandra Bullock) and Sean Sr. (Tim McGraw). The Tuohy’s slowly but surely become attached to Michael and do whatever they can to secure a bright future for him. ‘The Blind Side’ recounts the real-life Michael Jerome Oher’s days as a foster kid and his introduction to professional football after high school, much the same as ‘Shooting Stars.’
Read More: Is Shooting Stars Based on a True Story?