MEALE-Chosen Ones Jacket-Prod-Linked

by JOE LEVITT, ’16

In the book, The Chosen Ones: The Team That Beat LeBron, by Tony Meale, shares the perspective on the only high school basketball team in Ohio to beat LeBron James during his career in high school. James is now one of most famous players in the entire world and he went in the league right out of high school. However, few know of the team from Cincinnati, Ohio that beat him in the state championship. Meale shares this story in a journalistic fashion and brings out the true thoughts and feelings from all of those associated with the St. Bernard Roger Bacon High School basketball team.

The story is mainly about how the this Cincinnati high school basketball team changed through a span of six years under Coach Bill Brewer. The ups and downs are shared as Brewer brings stability to a program that lacked success. Brewer builds a team in 2002 that has a chance to make an impact in high school basketball. Brewer brought a challenge upon the Spartans and scheduled to play St. Vincent- St. Mary– LeBron’s team in the regular season. It was a close, hard-fought contest with Roger Bacon losing. The team starts doing very well after the lost and they make their way toward the state title in Columbus at the Schottenstein Center. There they meet LeBron again, on the biggest stage in Ohio high school basketball. As the title of the book depicts, Bacon wins–but that’s not the only victory. Meale shares throughout the entire book the commitment, determination, and redemption of this team. They created a bond through the game of basketball and learning life lessons.

Meale is able to make this story unique with his countless hours of interviews of the people associated with the basketball program. From coaches to players to parents, the interviews bring out the truth and the work the team put in to achieve their goals. These interviews show the journalistic approach Meale took, helping the flow and develop the viewpoint of the team. The book can be a seen as treasure for those who know little of this school or even of the state championship where LeBron lost. Bacon did not just “come out of nowhere.” It may be considered a underdog story but the information Meale gathered showed the squad’s potential sprouting at the right time.

Depending on the reader’s perspective on basketball, or sports in general, their interpretation of the significance of the book will be different. Meale produced a work of wonder by displaying that the victory over LeBron is not the most important part. The victory symbolized the brotherhood, work ethic, dedication, and heart the team had. Overall, the book can relate to anyone’s goals in life.

Cover art courtesy of Dan Phillips