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King James and Buzz
on December 12, 2009
SHOOTING STARS is the story of LeBron James and his four boyhood friends in Aaron growing in friendship and basketball on their way to three Ohio championships and one national championship. The title is taken from the junior AAU team that first brought them to the attention of the basketball world. What is admirable about the book is the steadfastness of the players and their determination to win. Also, LeBron's elevation of his friends and coaches to major parts in the narrative speaks well of his lasting affection for them.
What is lacking in the book in what was undoubtedly apparent on the court--chemistry. Buzz Bissinger is a great writer. I love his books. But, Bissinger also has an unique writing style, and trying to merge Lebron's oral style into Bissinger's prose is a failure. You can literally picture Bissinger having the manuscript in front of him inserting descriptions and using vocabulary that seems misplaced. As a reader when you are constantly reminded of the dual authorship by the juxaposition of styles, you know the editor should have stepped in and said "this isn't working."
Still, LeBron's bond with his home city, family, and friends survives in this well-intended, but not quite perfectly executed look back.