Synopses & Reviews
Read an interview with Buzz Bissinger at hoopsaddict.com here. The SHOOTING STARS were a bunch of kids from Akron, Ohio-LeBron James and his best friends-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 which would carry them through thick and thin (a lot of thin) and, at last, to the brink of a national championship.
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 10. 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, who was ever-present, 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 team mates offered.
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 each other 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 consequence of their own over-confidence. 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 as they sought a national championship.
"James, the highest-paid athlete (including endorsement deals) in the NBA, turns to Bissinger (Friday Night Lights) to tell the story of his meteoric rise as a high school basketball player, when he and his teammates took a private school in Ohio to state and national championships. Looking back at the media circus that put him on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 17, James accuses the media of overexposing him for their own benefit. It feels like the young superstar is working out some grudges against the athletic officials who challenged his amateur status after he accepted two jerseys from a sporting goods store as a gift, along with his school for failing to take his side in the controversy, but Bissinger smoothes out the rough edges, letting very little anger show. That polish is the as-told-to memoir's biggest problem despite stylistic flourishes like shifting to present tense to write about James's big games, his passion seems muted. James hits all the right moments, from the childhood promise he made to himself to put Akron on the map to the graduation day photo with his teammates, but it's a story readers hear rather than feel. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"When I first saw LeBron James play as a professional, it was his selflessness that dazzled me the most. After reading Shooting Stars
, I now understand why. It is a book of five boys coming together to learn the true meaning of teamwork and togetherness, loyalty and love, through highs and lows and thick and thin. It is a book filled with excitement and unforgettable characters. It is a book that will incredibly move and inspire you."--Jay-Z
"Our sense of modern athletes is often limited to what highlight reels and marketing campaigns reveal or obscure. Shooting Stars is the compelling and often poignant story of a remarkable group of young men only one of whom happens to be a future NBA superstar. In the end we care about them all, even as we come away with a truer understanding and appreciation of the circumstances and relationships that forged one of the most significant sports figures of our time."-Bob Costas, HBO and NBC sports commentator
"A heartwarming story of boys who became men, teammates who became brothers, players who became champions, wonderfully told through the maturing eyes of basketball's greatest star. " - John Grisham
"In the Olympics, LeBron was a star, a leader, and the ultimate teammate. He helped our team become a family. Reading Shooting Stars taught me how he became that kind of a teammate, developing the selflessness and loyalty that define who he is. What an amazing story."--Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University men's basketball coach, gold-medal-winning coach of the U.S. men's basketball team, 2008 Olympics
"Reading about LeBron James' transition from boyhood to manhood was a thrill for me. Shooting Stars is a remarkable and riveting story, filled with lessons of life we can all learn from." --Warren Buffett "The clock ticks, the suspense tightens, the scrappy kids from hard-luck Akron leave you hanging on every shot. But the wonder of Shooting Stars is that it's hardly about basketball. Instead it is a nuanced coming-of-age drama about American culture and race, about organized sports as redeemer and exploiter, and about the blessing and curse of celebrity. At this book's heart, though, is an uncommon bond forged in youthful innocence and desire, a friendship at least as meaningful as anything LeBron James will ever add to his trophy case."--Steve Lopez, author of The Soloist
"Told in a voice that is streetwise yet gentle, Shooting Stars shows how inner determination trumps bad breaks and how a winning combination of coaches, mentors, and friends turns lucky breaks into a way of life. If a book can have game, this one does." -- Madeleine Blaise, author of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle
Basketball superstar James and Bissinger, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Friday Night Lights," tell this poignant, thrilling account of the power of teamwork to transform young lives, including James's own.
About the Author
LeBron James plays for the NBAandrsquo;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 Oprahandrsquo;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.