A Closer Look At The Top 12 Must-Read Books For Every Sports Fan On The Planet!
Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times (Thomas Hauser) (1992)With his passing earlier this year, I want to encourage readers, both young and old to read author Thomas Hauser’s incredible biography on the Greatest…Muhammad Ali. On his way to becoming the most beloved athlete in American sports history, the polarizing Ali floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee – and Hasuer captures it all in his insightful biography of Ali.
Hauser conducted an extensive series of interviews with a multitude of Ali’s closest friends and family to compile his book.
“In the words of more than 200 of Ali’s family members, opponents, friends, world leaders, and others who have known him best, the real Muhammad Ali emerges: deeply religious, mercurial, generous, a showman in and out of the ring.”
Moneyball – Michel Lewis (2003)What was once a simple book on the Oakland A’s and general manager Billy Beane’s analytics-based approach to building a winning franchise has turned into a must-read ‘Bible’ for all of today’s analytics-based franchise-builders. Lewis combined narrative and sports philosophy with absolute ease to create what is today a must-read for any prospective GM.
The Natural – Bernard Malamud (1952)Yu may not know it, but Bernard Malamud wrote The Natural way back in 1952, long before the book was turned into a successful movie of the same name, starring the legendary Robert Redford.
Anyway, the now, beloved baseball book follows the life and times of Roy Hobbs, a fictional baseball wunderkind whose career is cut short when he is shot by a woman. The book centers on Hobbs attempt to resurrect his career later in life with the fictional New York Knights and his legendary bat “Wonderboy”.
Heaven is a Playground – Rick Tellender (1976)If you’ve ever played ‘street’ hoops, then you know it’s an entirely different game from playing organized basketball. Rick Tellender’s 1976 book Heaven is a Playground describes in vivid detail the entirety of what street ball is all about while telling the stories of several individual athletes along the way.
The Sweet Science– A.J. Liebling (1949)Despite being originally published way back in 1949, The Sweet Science remains one of the greatest pieces of sports writing to this day. Liebling brings to life the bruising sport of boxing world as it once was while going in-depth on legendary fighters like Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano and Joe Louis.
Loose Balls – Terry Pluto (1990)Loose Balls by Terry Pluto was originally published in 1990 and gives readers an up-close and personal view of the former ABA and its multitude of colorful characters. From Julius ‘Dr. J.’ Erving to George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin, you’ll find out all about the old ABA while wishing you could be transported back to those fun-filled times.
Ball Four – Jim Bouton (1970)“Ball Four” serves as a diary of former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Bouton and his 1969 season. While then commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to discredit Bouton’s book, Ball Four is hailed today as one of the greatest and most insightful sports books ever written.
Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand (2001)Not only was the 2003 film Seabiscuit nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture that year, but the 2001 book by Laura Hillenbrand captured the hearts and minds of readers everywhere.
In the now, beloved book, Hillenbrand puts readers smack in the middle of the Great Depression while telling the incredible tale of thoroughbred race horse Seabiscuit as he overcomes all odds and obstacles to become one of the most beloved champions ever.
The Boys of Summer – Roger Kahn (1972)In the Boys of Summer, author Roger Kahn shares the tale of his childhood and relationship with then Brooklyn Dodgers through their 1955 World Series season while tracking the lives and telling the tales of several players from that team in the years that followed.
League of Denial – Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru (2013)While you’ve probably heard more about the Will Smith film Concussion, the book League of Denial will go down in history as arguably the most significant investigative sports book ever. The book is so good and so truthful that the NFL went to great lengths to discredit the work.
In the book, the NFL’s first brain specialist, Joe Maroon, argues that “If only 10 percent of mothers in America begin to conceive of football as a dangerous game, that is the end of football.” The insightful literary work reveals the threat of football in every aspect while ultimately coming to the conclusion that football destroys lives.