Review by Adam Donato
Anybody who follows the NBA knows that the GOAT discussion is non-stop. With LeBron still kicking it in his late thirties, that debate is ever changing. A few years ago, LeBron ended his second stint in Cleveland and decided to take his talents to Los Angeles. Not only are the Lakers arguably the most storied and popular franchise in NBA history, but they’re also geographically in a great spot for expanding business to other industries. LeBron starred in a sequel to Michael Jordan’s Space Jam and has been producing other projects. The latest tells the story of LeBron’s journey to the NBA and his unshakable bond with the friends that helped him achieve that goal. Is Shooting Stars a positive for LeBron’s legacy?
As the title says, this movie is LeBron James propaganda to the highest degree. Not accusing LeBron of embellishing his story, but the movie goes out of its way to paint LeBron in the most beautiful light. Even his lowest lows aren’t don’t reflect poorly on him. One could say this movie is a testament to how great of a person LeBron James is on and off the court. It’s not illegal to be corny, but making a movie about your rise to fame while you’re still playing is corny personified. LeBron is under contract with the Lakers and had previously made his intentions clear that he wants to play with his son. The last thing LeBron said publicly is that he is considering retirement and with surgery on the way, it seems like a realistic possibility. The point is this story would’ve hit harder if it came out after his career as a player is over. Unlike The Last Dance, which was instrumental to maintaining Michael Jordan’s GOAT status, Shooting Stars feels more cheese than anything.
Shooting Stars as a movie is a cute little story about friendship and the keys to success. LeBron and his friends are referred to as the Fab Four and their chemistry together is palpable. The shining star of the group is Caleb McLaughlin of Stranger Things fame. His experience is brought to the forefront as his character struggles with being undersized and therefore doesn’t feel like he belongs amongst his teammates. He has ample personality and has the most gripping narrative thread. When it comes to the coaches, Wood Harris was a much better tone setter than Dermot Mulroney. The boys who played LeBron were serviceable, but it was especially funny when the real life LeBron James voice was modified and played as if it was a teenage LeBron.
As a movie, Shooting Stars is good enough to satiate NBA stans. It’s corny as all hell, but that’s very on brand for LeBron. Cute coming of age tale, but nothing is being added to the legacy with this one. Check it out on Peacock instead of White Men Can’t Jump on Hulu.
Shooting Stars hits Peacock on June 2.