LeBron's Dream Team: How Five Friends Made History

LeBron's Dream Team: How Five Friends Made History

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by LeBron James, Buzz Bissinger
     
 

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Before LeBron James was an NBA superstar, he was just a kid from Akron, Ohio, who loved to play basketball on a team called the Shooting Stars. This is the story of how this motley group of ten-year-olds grew into a team and became men together—surviving the challenges of inner-city America and enduring jealousy, hostility, exploitation, and the consequences

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Overview

Before LeBron James was an NBA superstar, he was just a kid from Akron, Ohio, who loved to play basketball on a team called the Shooting Stars. This is the story of how this motley group of ten-year-olds grew into a team and became men together—surviving the challenges of inner-city America and enduring jealousy, hostility, exploitation, and the consequences of their own overconfidence in their quest to win a national championship. Basketball superstar LeBron James and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger deliver a poignant, thrilling tale of the power of teamwork to transform young lives.

Editorial Reviews

Dwight Garner
Shooting Stars is a measured, modest book about four kids from Akron, Ohio, James among them, who became best friends off the court and a mighty force on it. The book, mostly told in James's gentle first-person voice, follows his life and those of his three friends from their often troubled childhoods through the state and national championships they win for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron…reads like a better-than-average young-adult novel, "Stand by Me" with breakaway dunks and long, arching three-pointers.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
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.)
Library Journal
James may be the best basketball player in the world right now; he's definitely one of the most popular. And Bissinger's Friday Night Lights became a national sensation, spawning a movie and a successful television series. They should make for a powerful combination as they present the story of James's amazing Akron, OH, high school basketball team, which won multiple state titles and a national championship. Many readers will be interested to know the details surrounding his suspension during his senior year for accepting free "throw-back" jerseys from a local sports dealer and his mother's controversial purchase of a $50,000 Hummer. Unlike Friday Night Lights, few details of the lives of either James himself or his best friends/teammates, the "Fab Five," are given. VERDICT People will want to read this because of James's star power and the controversies he addresses. Both fans of James and of books on high school sports will find the story of the games, the players, and the coaches engaging, but they may be disappointed with matter-of-fact game descriptions that fail to build much excitement.—Todd Spires, Bradley Univ. Lib., Peoria, IL
Kirkus Reviews
NBA superstar James and Vanity Fair contributor and acclaimed sportswriter Bissinger (Three Nights in August, 2005, etc.) profile James's championship high-school basketball team. Although Bissinger's authorial stamp can be somewhat heavy at times, there's still plenty of conversational snap in James's modest but passionate first-person voice. The co-authors adequately humanize all five starting members of Ohio's St.Vincent-St. Mary Shooting Stars. Of course James is the focus here, and he provides ample biographical details about his fatherless upbringing in the Akron housing projects. James proved to be not only a gifted athlete-effortlessly excelling in both football and basketball-but also an honor-roll student. His teammates were an eccentric mixed bag, but all hailed from economically underprivileged backgrounds and ended up on scholarship at the mostly white private high school. As a result, they were often considered traitors by the black community, while never feeling wholly accepted in white society. It was James's remarkable individual play that eventually brought national attention to the team. During his senior season, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and suddenly his team was pushed into the national spotlight-with all the attendant accolades, pressures and pitfalls. When James accepted $850 in merchandise from a local Cleveland clothing shop-in violation of an obscure and rarely enforced rule-he was temporarily suspended and then dragged into a court hearing. The inspirational heart of the book is James and his teammates' gutsy performance in the face of the tornado-like media frenzy. The co-authors dramatically re-create the minute-by-minute highlights of keygames in St.V's national-championship drive, but they also interject some serious social commentary on the vindictiveness, greed and exploitation that can infect the seemingly pristine world of amateur sports. A simple but moving story about the double-edged sword of precocious athletic talent and the redemptive power of teamwork. Launch events in New York and Cleveland. Agent: Mort Janklow/Janklow & Nesbit

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143118220
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
215,363
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Table of Contents

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Epigraph

 

Chapter 1. - Mapmakers

Chapter 2. - Saviors

Chapter 3. - East Liverpool

Chapter 4. - Willie McGee

Chapter 5. - The Decision

Chapter 6. - School Daze

Chapter 7. - Swish

Chapter 8. - Romeo Oh Romeo

Chapter 9. - The Invincibles

Chapter 10. - The Invincibles?

Chapter 11. - Cover Boy

Chapter 12. - In or Out?

Chapter 13. - Pressure

Chapter 14. - Back to the Future

Chapter 15. - Shooting Stars

Chapter 16. - Fab Five

 

AFTERWORD

Acknowledgments

Praise for LeBron’s Dream Team by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger

“Compelling . . . An uplifting tale of bonding, of a handful of friends who grow as tight as brothers as they get squeezed by pressure, expectations and even racism. It’s hard not to root for the group, and it’s gratifying when their hard work and loyalty to each other leads to a happy ending.”

—Associated Press

 

“The most high-powered pairing. LeBron. Buzz. The mononymous stars in their respective fields—basketball’s James, sports books’ Bissinger—teamed up on [LeBron’s Dream Team] . . . an entertaining, well-written reminder that even if he seems to have been around forever, James didn’t go directly from the nursery to the NBA.”

Sports Illustrated

“[James] was smart to hook up with Mr. Bissinger, who showed in Friday Night Lights that he writes about young men and sports as well as anyone alive.”

The New York Times

“Exhaustively detailed, enhanced by James’ maturity and candor from six years’ remove, and Bissinger’s well-crafted writing providing context . . . an interesting and worthwhile read.”

—Dan McGrath, Chicago Tribune

 

“You’ll learn a lot about [James] and his hard times as the son of a single, working-class mother, but what distinguishes the memoir is how James turns the spotlight on his teammates. James got all the attention as the star player for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, and [LeBron’s Dream Team] is his way of giving thanks to the supporting cast.”

Newsday

 

“More about friendship than it is about fame, more about loyalty and hope than it is about the millions James has earned in a few short years as an NBA standout.”

—Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

 

“This is a coming-of-age tale, approached from a different angle, and deftly done. The reportage is thorough to a fare-thee-well, what you would expect from a seasoned veteran, and their overall collaboration makes for an engaging read.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer

 

“For the ordinary reader, [LeBron’s Dream Team] also delivers an emotional wallop. The book can be read as a variation on the themes of masculinity, as a young LeBron and his buddies try out different approaches.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

“A poignant memoir chronicling [LeBron’s] formative years and coming of age in Akron, Ohio . . . A compelling autobiography illustrating the evolution of LeBron into a selfless role model worthy of emulation.”

—Newsblaze.com

 

“An excellent read.”

—Hoopsworld.com

 

“The coauthors dramatically re-create the minute- by-minute highlights of key games in St.V’s national-championship drive, but they also interject some serious social commentary on the vindictiveness, greed and exploitation that can infect the seemingly pristine world of amateur sports. . . . A simple but moving story about the double-edged sword of precocious athletic talent and the redemptive power of teamwork.”

Kirkus Reviews

 

“A warm, thoughtful memoir by a young man who, one imagines, will never forget his humble origins.”

Booklist

 

“When I first saw LeBron James play as a professional, it was his selflessness that dazzled me the most. After reading [LeBron’s Dream Team], 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. [LeBron’s Dream Team] 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, NBC sports commentator

 

“In the Olympics, LeBron was a star, a leader, and the ultimate teammate. He helped our team become a family. Reading [LeBron’s Dream Team] 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 and the 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. [LeBron’s Dream Team] 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 [LeBron’s Dream Team] 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, [LeBron’s Dream Team] 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 Blais, author of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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What People are saying about this

Steve Lopez
"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")
Mike Krzyzewski
"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 US men's basketball team, 2008 Olympics)
Jay-Z
"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."
Bob Costas
"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)
John Grisham
"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."
Madeleine Blais
"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 Blais, author of IN THESE GIRLS, HOPE IS A MUSCLE)
Warren Buffett
"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."

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Meet the Author

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.

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