Publication Date: September 8, 2009
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From the ultimate team- basketball superstar LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August-a poignant, thrilling tale of the power of teamwork to transform young lives, including James's own.
The Shooting Stars were a bunch of kids-LeBron James and his best friends-from Akron, Ohio, who first met on a youth basketball team of the same name when they were ten and eleven years old. United by their love of the game and their yearning for companionship, they quickly forged a bond that would carry them through thick and thin (a lot of thin) and, at last, to a national championship in their senior year of high school.
They were a motley group who faced challenges all too typical of inner-city America. LeBron grew up without a father and had moved with his mother more than a dozen times by the age of ten. Willie McGee, the quiet one, had left both his parents behind in Chicago to be raised by his older brother in Akron. Dru Joyce was outspoken, and his dad was ever present; he would end up coaching all five of the boys in high school. Sian Cotton, who also played football, was the happy-go-lucky enforcer, while Romeo Travis was unhappy, bitter, even surly, until he finally opened himself up to the bond his teammates offered him.
In the summer after seventh grade, the Shooting Stars tasted glory when they qualified for a national championship tournament in Memphis. But they lost their focus and had to go home early. They promised one another they would stay together and do whatever it took to win a national title.
They had no idea how hard it would be to pursue that promise. In the years that followed, they would endure jealousy, hostility, exploitation, resentment from the black community (because they went to a "white" high school), and the consequences of their own overconfidence. Not least, they would all have to wrestle with LeBron's outsize success, which brought too much attention and even a whiff of scandal their way. But together these five boys became men, and together they claimed the prize they had fought for all those years-a national championship.
LeBron James plays for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. At seventeen he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated; at nineteen he became the youngest Rookie of the Year in NBA history; at twenty-three he is the third-highest-paid athlete in the world (including endorsements). He has hosted Saturday Night Live, graced Oprah’s stage, and appeared on the cover of Fortune.
Buzz Bissinger is the author of A Prayer for the City, the New York Times bestseller Three Nights in August, and Friday Night Lights, which has sold almost 2 million copies to date and spawned a film and a TV series. He is a contributing writer for Vanity Fair.
This week, basketball star LeBron James won his second MVP trophy in a landslide vote, but he's been a star since he was a teenager. Now 25, James looked back on his youth in the memoir Shooting Stars, which he co-wrote with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger. More at NPR.org
Before LeBron James became one of the biggest stars in the NBA, he was just a kid from Akron, Ohio. Shooting Stars tells the story of his early years. James and his high school coach, Dru Joyce, talk about life before the NBA. More at NPR.org
Basketball player LeBron James has been a star since he was a teenager. Now 24, James looks back on his youth in the memoir Shooting Stars, which he co-wrote with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger. More at NPR.org