Whether you care to admit it or not, LeBron James will go down in history as one of the greatest NBA players to ever lace up and take to the court, which is why it’s rather unsurprising to hear NBC Universal’s Peacock is already keen for a biopic. Only Shooting Stars won’t cover everything from running drills by a hoop in the driveway to his fourth championship with the Los Angeles Lakers circa 2020 and becoming the first active league player to hit billionaire status. It’ll focus solely on his days as a young basketball prodigy at St Vincent-St Mary High School.
Adapted from the 2009 book of the same name which LeBron James himself penned alongside Buzz Bissinger, the screenplay has been accomplished by Juel Taylor and Tony Rettenmaier. Academy Award nominees Rachel Winters (Dallas Buyers Club) and Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) have signed on to co-produce with James and business partner Maverick Carter’s billion-dollar media operation, SpringHill Company. You’ll find Chris Robinson (Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Black-ish, Grown-ish) in the director’s chair.
“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,” reads the source material’s description.
“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 fulfil that promise.”
“Together these five boys became men, and together they claimed the prize they had fought for all those years: a national championship.”
The cast has been led by Strangers Things talent Caleb McLaughlin as Lil Dru, son of Wood Harris’ Coach Dru Joyce, along with screen debutante Marquis “Mookie” Cook as young LeBron James, Avery Wills Jr as Willie McGree, plus real-life top 2023 NBA Draft pick Sterling “Scoot” Henderson as LeBron’s former rival Romeo Travis.
This isn’t exactly the first production LeBron James has taken on via SpringHill Company. In addition to his beloved HBO talk show The Shop and Netflix’s sports docuseries The Playbook, #6 has been getting involved with an upcoming comedy film entitled House Party – written by Stephen Glover, brother of multi-hyphenate talent Donald Glover/Childish Gambino – another basketball movie starring Adam Sandler in Netflix’s Hustle, and most famously, the long-awaited sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy. No comment on that last one…
As for a release date, Shooting Stars, the LeBron James origin story, is currently scheduled to stream on NBC Universal’s Peacock from June 2nd (local platform TBA) – check out the trailer above.