The Chosen ones

AN INSPIRING TALE OF A TEAM THAT DARED TO DREAM

AND A COACH WHO REFUSED TO LET THEM FAIL

In February 2002, high school junior and two-time state champion LeBron James, an Ohio wonder on the cusp of national stardom, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the words “The Chosen One.”

 

Basketball would never be the same again.

 

And yet, a coach and his team of relative unknowns at St. Bernard Roger Bacon, a Catholic high school in Cincinnati, didn't seem to notice. One month later, Roger Bacon faced James and seemingly invincible Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in perhaps the most highly anticipated state final in Ohio history.

 

Basketball would never be the same again.

The Chosen Ones: The Team That Beat LeBron tells the untold story of struggle and triumph, of setback and success, of tragedy and redemption of the only Ohio prep basketball team to ever beat LeBron James. The 372-page book reveals how a group of young men, driven by their coach, forged a brotherhood and fearlessness that produced one of the most inspiring underdog stories the sports world has ever witnessed.

Testimonials

"March 23, 2002, was a huge moment in the career of LeBron James. He has told me it was one of the toughest losses of his life and something that ended up changing the way he looked at the game and respected his opponents. Everyone who plays in a championship game on any level will always have the memory, but it doesn’t always change the lives of the participants. Roger Bacon’s amazing win over St. Vincent-St. Mary did change lives. What it did to LeBron and his teammates became a movie. What it means to the Spartans is detailed wonderfully by Tony Meale in this book. Tony . . . was fascinated by their accomplishment and how it had taken place. You will be, too.”

– BRIAN WINDHORST, ESPN.com NBA writer and the author of The Franchise: The Remaking of the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James: The Making of an MVP

 

“This, I guess, is as good a reason as any for doing what we do. People are born, and they die, and those who remember them die too, and the place where they keep living is in our stories, written down, printed on a page, shielded between hard covers, collected on the shelf, available as long as the paper holds together. We were here, those stories say, and for a moment or two we were great.”

– THOMAS LAKE, former Sports Illustrated senior writer and author of Unprecedented: The Election That Changed Everything

 

"This is Hoosiers meets Remember the Titans – one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time. We know what became of LeBron; The Chosen Ones tells us what became of the team that beat him in what was one of the most unlikely – and unexpected – outcomes in the history of American high school sports.”

– JOHN ERARDI, Cincinnati Enquirer sportswriter and author of The Wire-to-Wire Reds: Sweet Lou, Nasty Boys and the Wild Run to a World Championship

"If journalism is literature in a hurry, The Chosen Ones is literature worth the wait. Those of us who watched Roger Bacon’s improbable upset of LeBron James . . . knew the magic of that moment did not materialize all at once. It was the product of a demanding coach and his driven players. Tony Meale has told their story with such a keen eye and with such intimate detail that the stunning result has finally started to make sense.”

– TIM SULLIVAN, Louisville Courier-Journal sports columnist

 

"Meale’s extensive reporting helps bring the personalities at the center of the story to life, and his detailed re-creations of those Bacon-St. V games are compelling. LeBron's stunning high school career changed a lot of things about American sports; the last game of his junior year forever changed the lives of a bunch of no-name kids from Cincinnati. Their story is worth a read.”

– RYAN JONES, former SLAM Magazine editor in chief and the author of King James: Believe the Hype – The LeBron James Story

 

"Fantastic read. (This) is so much more than just a book about a team that won a state title. Tony does a fantastic job detailing the emotion, heartbreak and triumph of a magical season."

– LANCE MCALISTER, ESPN 1530 Radio Host

 

“We all have moments. Slices of time that shape us or define us, or prepare us for the rest. They stay in the mind’s eye, as vidid as anything we’re likely to experience. The Hoosiers moment of the Bacon team not only has remained; it has bloomed across time. Tony Meale’s The Chosen Ones is a thorough and entertaining delve into that season, those players and their late coach, Bill Brewer, who died way too soon. Meale’s book shows the transcendent power of big, young dreams.”

– PAUL DAUGHERTY, Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist and author of An Uncomplicated Life: A Father’s Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter

 

"Far surpassing any game-to-game analysis or a retroactive glimpse at box scores of old, Meale engages in countless interviews, reviews innumerable recaps, and constructs a beautiful and passionate story about a group of teenage kids . . . who have since been shotgunned throughout the world, many of whom no longer lace up their basketball shoes on the regular, all of whom miss their deceased head coach ever so dearly.  . . . If the LeBron James-St. Vincent-St. Mary angle isn't enough to draw you in, the collective hope, passion and family-like attributes of the Roger Bacon story should finish the job. It's a story about basketball, sure. But it's one that any sports fan can relate to – it's about loss, about gain, about togetherness, motivation, and, most importantly, triumph against all odds."

– SCOTT SARGENT, Waiting For Next Year

 

"This is the ultimate ‘Nobody believed in us’ story, and it is told eloquently. There are moments of joy, tragedy, overcoming impossible odds and even mortality.  . . . The Roger Bacon Spartans are a team whose legacy is beating LeBron James. There is so much more to the story, and this book immortalizes it for basketball fans. Whether you love or hate LeBron James, this is a fascinating look at a team whose sum was greater than all of the parts. The Chosen Ones is Tony Meale's first book, and if it is any indication, he will have many more to come."

– DEMETRI INEMBOLIDIS, The Cleveland Fan

 

"James, who has reportedly read six books during Miami's playoff run, will probably skip this one – though he shouldn't."

– JASON HICKMAN, MaxPreps national basketball writer

 

© Tony Meale

info@tonymeale.com

"March 23, 2002, was a huge moment in the career of LeBron James. He has told me it was one of the toughest losses of his life and something that ended up changing the way he looked at the game and respected his opponents. Everyone who plays in a championship game on any level will always have the memory, but it doesn’t always change the lives of the participants. Roger Bacon’s amazing win over St. Vincent-St. Mary did change lives. What it did to LeBron and his teammates became a movie. What it means to the Spartans is detailed wonderfully by Tony Meale in this book. Tony . . . was fascinated by their accomplishment and how it had taken place. You will be, too.”

– BRIAN WINDHORST, ESPN.com NBA writer and the author of The Franchise: The Remaking of the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James: The Making of an MVP

“This, I guess, is as good a reason as any for doing what we do. People are born, and they die, and those who remember them die too, and the place where they keep living is in our stories, written down, printed on a page, shielded between hard covers, collected on the shelf, available as long as the paper holds together. We were here, those stories say, and for a moment or two we were great.”

– THOMAS LAKE, former Sports Illustrated senior writer and author of Unprecedented: The Election That Changed Everything

 

"This is Hoosiers meets Remember the Titans – one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time. We know what became of LeBron; The Chosen Ones tells us what became of the team that beat him in what was one of the most unlikely – and unexpected – outcomes in the history of American high school sports.”

– JOHN ERARDI, Cincinnati Enquirer sportswriter and author of The Wire-to-Wire Reds: Sweet Lou, Nasty Boys and the Wild Run to a World Championship

 

"If journalism is literature in a hurry, The Chosen Ones is literature worth the wait. Those of us who watched Roger Bacon’s improbable upset of LeBron James . . . knew the magic of that moment did not materialize all at once. It was the product of a demanding coach and his driven players. Tony Meale has told their story with such a keen eye and with such intimate detail that the stunning result has finally started to make sense.”

– TIM SULLIVAN, Louisville Courier-Journal sports columnist

 

"Meale’s extensive reporting helps bring the personalities at the center of the story to life, and his detailed re-creations of those Bacon-St. V games are compelling. LeBron's stunning high school career changed a lot of things about American sports; the last game of his junior year forever changed the lives of a bunch of no-name kids from Cincinnati. Their story is worth a read.”

– RYAN JONES, former SLAM Magazine editor in chief and the author of King James: Believe the Hype – The LeBron James Story

 

"Fantastic read. (This) is so much more than just a book about a team that won a state title. Tony does a fantastic job detailing the emotion, heartbreak and triumph of a magical season."

– LANCE MCALISTER, ESPN 1530 Radio Host

 

“We all have moments. Slices of time that shape us or define us, or prepare us for the rest. They stay in the mind’s eye, as vidid as anything we’re likely to experience. The Hoosiers moment of the Bacon team not only has remained; it has bloomed across time. Tony Meale’s The Chosen Ones is a thorough and entertaining delve into that season, those players and their late coach, Bill Brewer, who died way too soon. Meale’s book shows the transcendent power of big, young dreams.”

– PAUL DAUGHERTY, Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist and author of An Uncomplicated Life: A Father’s Memoir of His Exceptional Daughter

 

"Far surpassing any game-to-game analysis or a retroactive glimpse at box scores of old, Meale engages in countless interviews, reviews innumerable recaps, and constructs a beautiful and passionate story about a group of teenage kids . . . who have since been shotgunned throughout the world, many of whom no longer lace up their basketball shoes on the regular, all of whom miss their deceased head coach ever so dearly.  . . . If the LeBron James-St. Vincent-St. Mary angle isn't enough to draw you in, the collective hope, passion and family-like attributes of the Roger Bacon story should finish the job. It's a story about basketball, sure. But it's one that any sports fan can relate to – it's about loss, about gain, about togetherness, motivation, and, most importantly, triumph against all odds."

– SCOTT SARGENT, Waiting For Next Year

 

"This is the ultimate ‘Nobody believed in us’ story, and it is told eloquently. There are moments of joy, tragedy, overcoming impossible odds and even mortality.  . . . The Roger Bacon Spartans are a team whose legacy is beating LeBron James. There is so much more to the story, and this book immortalizes it for basketball fans. Whether you love or hate LeBron James, this is a fascinating look at a team whose sum was greater than all of the parts. The Chosen Ones is Tony Meale's first book, and if it is any indication, he will have many more to come."

– DEMETRI INEMBOLIDIS, The Cleveland Fan

 

"James, who has reportedly read six books during Miami's playoff run, will probably skip this one – though he shouldn't."

– JASON HICKMAN, MaxPreps national basketball writer