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Best Sports Books

Recommendations from 20 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Ashton Kutcher and 105 others.
100 books on the list
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Paper Lion
Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback
George Plimpton - Apr 26, 2016 (first published in 1966)
Goodreads Rating
The book that made a legend -- and captures America's sport in detail that's never been matched, featuring a foreword by Nicholas Dawidoff and never-before-seen content from the Plimpton Archives. George Plimpton was perhaps best known for Paper Lion, the book that set the bar for participatory sports journalism. With his characteristic wit, Plimpt...
Recommended by
Michael Pollan
A Life
Jonathan Eig - Oct 03, 2017
Goodreads Rating
The definitive biography of an American icon, from a New York Times best-selling author with unique access to Ali’s inner circle He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us himself). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century’s most fantastic figures and arguably the most famous man...
An Autobiography
Andre Agassi - Aug 10, 2010 (first published in 2009)
Goodreads Rating
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLERFar more than a superb memoir about the highest levels of professional tennis, Open is the engrossing story of a remarkable life.Andre Agassi had his life mapped out for him before he left the crib. Groomed to be a tennis champion by his moody and demanding father, by the age of twenty-two Agassi had won the first of his eight...
Ball Four
The Final Pitch
Jim Bouton - Apr 01, 2014 (first published in 1970)
Goodreads Rating
The beloved baseball classic now available in paperback, with a new prologue by Jim Bouton When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it hit the sports world like a lightning bolt. Commissioners, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to ...
The Boys of Summer
Roger Kahn - May 09, 2006 (first published in 1972)
Goodreads Rating
This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a book by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 19...
Recommended by
Eric Alper
The Game
Ken Dryden - Feb 04, 2005 (first published in 1983)
Goodreads Rating
Widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by "Sports Illustrated" as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, "The Game" is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey. Intelligent and insightful, former Montreal Canadiens goalie and former President of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ken Dryden captures the es...
Recommended by
Chris Wesseling
The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Michael Lewis - Mar 17, 2004 (first published in 2003)
Goodreads Rating
Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Bea...
Recommended by
Ev WilliamsEric Alper
Among the Thugs
Bill Buford - Jun 01, 1993 (first published in 1990)
Goodreads Rating
They have names like Barmy Bernie, Daft Donald, and Steamin' Sammy. They like lager (in huge quantities), the Queen, football clubs (especially Manchester United), and themselves. Their dislike encompasses the rest of the known universe, and England's soccer thugs express it in ways that range from mere vandalism to riots that terrorize entire citi...
The Fight
Norman Mailer - Oct 15, 2013 (first published in 1975)
Goodreads Rating
In 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaïre, two African American boxers were paid five million dollars apiece to fight each other. One was Muhammad Ali, the aging but irrepressible “professor of boxing.” The other was George Foreman, who was as taciturn as Ali was voluble. Observing them was Norman Mailer, a commentator of unparalleled energy, acumen, and audacity...
Shoe Dog
A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Phil Knight - May 01, 2018 (first published in 2016)
Goodreads Rating
In this instant and tenacious New York Times bestseller, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight “offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh” (Booklist, starred review), opening up about his company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing,...
The Jordan Rules
The Inside Story of One Turbulent Season with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls
Sam Smith - Jan 01, 1993 (first published in 1992)
Goodreads Rating
Sam Smith’s seminal, New York Times bestselling “eye-opener” (The San Diego Union-Tribune) on Michael Jordan and the 1990-1991 Chicago Bulls team—perfect for fans of ESPN’s hit documentary series The Last Dance. This is the book that changed the way the world viewed Michael Jordan, while delivering nonstop excitement, tension, and thrills. The Jord...
Recommended by
Larry Ellison
The Sports Gene by David Epstein
Levels of the Game by John McPhee
The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam
King of the World by David Remnick
The Cubs Way by Tom Verducci
Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan
Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson
A Life Too Short by Ronald Reng
Veeck As In Wreck by Bill Veeck
String Theory by David Foster Wallace
The Boys of Winter by Wayne Coffey
Game Change by Ken Dryden
Never Die Easy by Walter Payton
Players In Pigtails by Shana Corey
Atomic Habits by James Clear
The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton
Ben Hogan's Five Lessons by Ben Hogan
Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
A Sense of Where You Are by John McPhee
A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley
Basketball by Shea Serrano
The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence S Ritter
The Match by Mark Frost
The Fifties by David Halberstam
Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden
The Children by David Halberstam
Legacy by James Kerr
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book by Harvey Penick
Playing for Keeps by David Halberstam
The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss
Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy
Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson
Endure by Alex Hutchinson
Luckiest Man by Jonathan Eig
Taking Flight by Michaela Deprince
Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore
WWE Encyclopedia Updated & Expanded by Brian Shields
You Win in the Locker Room First by Jon Gordon
Women in Sports by Rachel Ignotofsky
Reach for the Summit by Pat Summitt
The Damned Utd by David Peace
A Life Well Played by Arnold Palmer
Heaven Is a Playground by Rick Telander
24 by Willie Mays
The First Major by John Feinstein
The Illustrated History of Football by David Squires
One Night in Turin by Pete Davies
Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier
CHINAMAN by Shehan Karunatilaka
Doc by Todd Zolecki
A Season on the Brink by John Feinstein
Loose Balls by Terry Pluto
Unforgivable Blackness by Geoffrey C. Ward
Crashed by K. Bromberg
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey
The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Legend by Katy Evans
The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant
Check, Please! Book 1 by Ngozi Ukazu
Us by Elle Kennedy Sarina Bowen
Fighting Solitude by Aly Martinez
Wooden by John Wooden
From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
The Running Dream by Wendelin van Draanen
Bigger Leaner Stronger by Michael Matthews
Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Raced by K. Bromberg
Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett
Driven by K. Bromberg
The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Rebound by Kwame Alexander
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Mine by Katy Evans
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
The Score by Elle Kennedy
Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor