*Fresh from his gold medal run as part of the U.S. basketball team in the Beijing Olympics, NBA star LeBron James will visit the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend for the debut of "More Than A Game," a documentary chronicling his rise to stardom.
The film also shows how he and four childhood friends overcame long odds to win a national championship in high school.
"We set out with a goal as kids and we wanted to accomplish that someway, somehow by using basketball as a tool, not knowing that it was going to create other opportunities for us," James said, according to the Associated Press. "We didn't know it was going to create a brotherhood and trust. We grew from kids into young men."
"More Than A Game" mixes footage from James' stint at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in nearby Akron, along with one-on-one interviews by writer/director Kris Belman, home videos, and personal family photographs.
James is expected to be joined by friends and former teammates Dru Joyce III, Sian Cotton, Willie McGee and Romeo Travis for the Toronto premiere. Their journey began together as 8-year-old boys, winds through years crisscrossing the country playing in AAU tournaments and finishes in their senior season at St. Vincent-St. Mary, a year when James came under scrutiny for accepting a $50,000 sports-utility vehicle as a gift from his mother and his eligibility was briefly stripped by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
At the time, Belman was a film student at Loyola Marymount looking to follow James and his friends' season as his final school project, a 10-minute documentary. But after gaining the trust of the players and coach Dru Joyce, Belman spent two months filming and eventually teamed with producer Harvey Mason Jr. to make the full-length feature. James hopes the film will inspire youngsters.
"We set out with a goal when we were 8 and we accomplished it when we were 18," he said. "It's a great story and I wanted to get it out to kids that have a dream, that they should continue to go after it, believe in it and live it if they want to accomplish something."