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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Rob Reviews "Shooting Stars"

Wanna feel old? LeBron James turns FORTY next year.

His story has been documented for longer than he has been old enough to have a job in most states, much less as one of the greatest NBA players of all time. His St. Vincent-St. Mary High School games were amongst the first to be broadcast nationally on a regular basis, setting the table for the spotlight that was to come. Looking back, those years were turned into a book he co-wrote called Shooting Stars, also now a film featured on Peacock.

Named after his youth basketball team, newcomer Marquis Mookie Cook (who actually plays for the University of Oregon) plays James during this time alongside Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin as Dru Joyce, Wood Harris as Dru’s father who coaches them from their beginnings in Akron and joins his high school coaching ranks, and Dermot Mulroney as their high school head coach, Keith Dambrot, who joins St. Vincent-St. Mary from coaching in the NCAA at the same time as the “Fab Four” becomes the age to join the team. Making an impact from the day they arrive at the high school, this film focuses on not only their time on the court but the affect that their popularity has on their families, their community, and even each other as they strive to be the best team in the country and maybe even one of the best high school teams ever assembled.

What I appreciate about Shooting Stars is that as much it becomes LeBron’s story, it’s not afraid to show some of the blemishes of his rise to the top. It’s important to remember that no matter who you are there are teachable moments, especially in those mid to latter teenage years, and this film features a good number of those moments. From understanding humility, navigating the minefield of fame, and dealing with the opposite sex, it’s all here in this story in a way that can be presented to kids of that same age very well. There is also just enough of the story about the rest of his teammates and brothers in athletics to keep the story balanced and interesting, furthering the message that it puts across. Director Chris Robinson (best known for a lot of music videos and the film ATL) really brings a unique visual style that makes the sports exciting while enhancing the story-driven moments that makes them feel personal and genuine.

No matter how you may feel about James himself, don’t let that get in the way of seeing Shooting Stars; this film is SO much more than what could have been a puff piece about his formative years. While this is a sports movie, it is also a very good coming-of-age story that should both inspire and challenge teens to become the best versions of themselves while understanding the hard work and determination that it takes to get to the top.

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