One Tree Hill lasted 9 seasons and basketball was a major focal point throughout the series. The series begins as half-brothers, Lucas and Nathan, battle it out on the basketball court and in their high school. Lucas is surrounded by his mother, Karen, his uncle Keith, and his best friend Hayley. Nathan is the best player on the varsity basketball team, and his girlfriend Peyton is a cheerleader. Peyton’s ditsy best friend, Brooke, is also a cheerleader. The evolution of these characters throughout the 9 seasons is incredibly interesting and illuminating.
One Tree Hill may seem cheesy to young adults now, but in its prime, it was known as a show that takes risks and tackles major issues. For example, they tackle the issue of hazing when Lucas joins the varsity basketball team, or when Peyton is bullied and called a homophobic slur.
One Tree Hill was considered a drama, but all of that drama always revolved around the basketball court. It kept true to its basketball roots when, in an unprecedented turn, the show fast-forwarded 4 years ahead to begin the fifth season. Nathan becomes a G-Leaguer, and eventually earns his shot at the NBA.
Another reason One Tree Hill belongs on The Shelf is that it shows the lives behind these athletes’ struggles and triumphs. It’s a great reminder that, while we often idolize these athletes, they are just human like you and I.
Set in North Carolina, arguably one of the most basketball-crazy states to ever exist (see Duke-UNC rivalry), this young adult drama examines the lives of 5 teenagers as they navigate difficult situations and head into adulthood.