We have seen this narrative play out plenty of times before.

The best of friends grow up together playing sports, and want to keep a good thing going.

So they commit to playing together.

But this thing called life usually has other plans, and the once-tight bonds become fractured and frayed, ultimately ending with that initial goal of playing together, becoming part of the “If only we could have...” many of us carry to some extent.

And then there’s LeBron James’ story depicted in the Peacock original movie Shooting Stars, one in which James (portrayed by Mookie Cook) and his three closest friends—Lil Dru (Caleb McLaughlin), Willie McGee (Avery S. Wills, Jr.) and Sian Cotton (Khalil Everage) decide to attend a predominantly white Catholic high school outside of their neighborhood because the head coach was willing to let all four of them play varsity.

Their decision to choose brotherhood over basketball (the school in their neighborhood was significantly better than the predominantly white Catholic school they would attend), speaks to the power of pooling together the goals, dreams and ambitions of a few young men, into a life-altering reality.

“It’s important. You don’t get to see this friendship dynamic a lot,” said McLaughlin. “Just the whole aspect of young Black excellence...”

And that dynamic, young Black Excellence, is among the more low-key undercurrents seen throughout the movie not only by James but also in the work, words and actions of his friends.

“A group of guys deciding to stick together instead of parting ways and they make something great, a legacy, out of that,” said Cook, who portrays a young LeBron James in the film. “A lot of people need to watch this story because they can build their own legacy in a different way.”

Shooting Stars sheds some much-needed light and perspective on James’ humble beginnings which does include many of the traditional hurdles of heartache that NBA players-in-the-making have to overcome.

While many viewers will come away impressed with James’ ascension and the success that his teammates would later have on and off the basketball court, their stories are the stories from the Black community that exist but seldom are given a platform like this to be told.

“It’s not all the time that the narrative is controlled so you can see what’s actually typical,” Wood Harris, who plays the role of Dru Joyce, told EBONY. “There’s nothing abnormal about four or five young men being so cool with each other, super-playful with each other, brotherly with each other...what show is normalcy.

Harris added, “what’s not normal is to always see troubled people in the culture. And there are troubled people, obviously. But for the light to always shine on them...for a project like this it’s great to show this is normal in Black culture.”

Indeed, the larger-than-life success stories like James and billionaire rapper/business mogul Jay-Z, are often buffered by a series of societal struggles and strife within the Black community when it comes to images portrayed in Hollywood.

Shooting Stars provides a much-needed perspective from those extremes, showcasing once again the diversity that exists within the Black narrative.

But the movie also has moments that remind us of how even those with the best intentions, will likely face some pushback when they don’t just go along with what others feel they should be doing.

There was a scene in the movie when a car pulls up to a stoplight next to the parent of one of the players, and coach Dru Joyce. The driver of the car asks the passenger to roll his window then, only to then proceed to throw coffee at the father, calling both men “sell outs” for not attending the high school in their neighborhood.

The movie alludes to James as well as his teammates enduring similar experiences involved with being labeled a sell-out.

Of course, Shooting Stars also explores the ecosystem of high stakes high school basketball.

Mookie Cook portrays James in the movie. In real life, he was one of the top high school basketball players in the country and will be attending the University of Oregon.

Also, Scoot Henderson portrays another James’ teammate, Romeo Davis. In real life, Henderson is also an elite basketball player who is projected by most draft services to be a top-three pick in the June 22 NBA draft.

Henderson graduated high school early and as a 17-year-old, became the youngest player ever to sign with the NBA’s G League, in 2021.

“My path is unheard of, and it’s unorthodox,” Henderson told EBONY. “The fact that I’m doing everything early, on and off the floor...that’s what I want to be. I’m one of none. I’m living in the moment right now.”

Which could be said for James and his basketball cohorts when they were in high school, forging a bond, a brotherhood, that they did not take for granted, ultimately showcasing Black Excellence— something that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should in Hollywood when it comes to young Black men.