You Should Read These 25 Books About Sports
We know you like the sportsbook, but what about literal sports books to read? Below, we’re sharing some of our favorite books about sports, from biographies to behind-the-scenes looks into the sporting world. So check out our list of baseball novels, basketball biographies, football reads, hockey histories, and more. Pro tip: These books make great gifts, so be sure to grab a few of these books for all the sports lovers in your life.
Best Baseball Books
America’s pastime has a long history of gracing the pages of bestselling novels, nonfiction reads, and biographies. From stories of glory on the diamond to personal accounts of playing the game and managing franchises, there are no shortage of great and beloved books about baseball. Here are a few of our favorites:
Before it became a hit movie starring Brad Pitt, Moneyball was an immediate success when first published in 2003. In it, financial journalist and author Micahel Lewis details how Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane applied advanced analytics to reinvent how a small-market baseball franchise could construct a winning team.
Perhaps better known for his book Friday Night Lights, Buzz Bissinger took to the baseball diamond to tell his true story of a 2003 series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. In Three Nights in August, Bissinger is able to capture the spirit and excitement that baseball fans love and all the characters that make baseball such a unique and beloved game.
Take a trip back in time and relive the Brooklyn Dodgers’s historic 1955 season in The Boys of Summer. Though it was released in 1972, Khan’s stories of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, and other Dodger legends are timelessly relayed, proving to be just as significant then as they are today.
Arguably the most famous book written by an ex-player, Ball Four gives readers a glimpse inside the mind of former All-Star Jim Bouton. A diary of his 1969 season, Bouton also recounts much of his 17-year career with vivid detail, unexpected honesty, and a compelling sense of storytelling.
The riveting debut author from Chad Harbach tells the story of a young college baseball phenom who is taken under the wing of the team’s lovable leader as they both eye stardom and what comes next after college baseball. With unforgettable characters and remarkable prose, this is a story that reminds us all why we first fell in love with baseball.
Best Basketball Books
Though basketball’s popularity has risen immensely in recent years, journalists and sportswriters have been writing books about hoops since the days of multicolored balls and short shorts. Browse the list of our favorite basketball books below:
With the help of famed NBA columnist Jackie MacMullen, NBA legends Larry Bird and Magic Johnson detail their rivalry and ultimate friendship that helped revitalize the NBA during the 1980s. Intimate stories and compelling conversations shape this book into a vibrant portrait of the NBA’s golden era that fans will be sure to love.
Though short-lived, the ABA is responsible for some of the most well-known and iconic pieces of the sport we know and love today. With big hair and bigger highlights, the ABA comes to life in stories told entirely by the players, coaches, and writers who lived it.
An instant bestseller when it was first released in 2010, The Book of Basketball is every fan’s dream. Sportswriter and podcaster Bill Simmons dives into the history of the league as only a truly obsessed fan can as he strives to uncover The Secret of Basketball.
One of the most beloved and controversial basketball players, Kobe Bryant sadly passed away in February of 2020. But his legacy lives on in The Mamba Mentality, a personal memoir of his playing days, his on-the-court motivations, and his legacy as one of the best to ever play.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George Dohrmann investigates the cutthroat world of AAU basketball in this 2012 book. Following a star youth basketball player and his ambitious coach, Play Their Hearts Out exposes the truth behind the machine that cranks out America’s basketball stars for better or for worse.
Best Football Books
Hut, hut, hike. From the biography of a legendary coach to the unforgettable story of high school football in Texas to the tell-all book of one of the most popular crazes in America, these great football books are all touchdowns. Explore our favorite football books below:
The book that spawned both a movie and a hit television show, Friday Night Lights dives deep into the Permian Panthers of Odessa, the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Following the team over the course of a season, Pulitzer Prize winner Buzz Bissinger paints a full picture of the players, coaches, and community that cheer on the team each Friday night.
This lighthearted novel from bestselling author John Grisham tells the story of an American quarterback who washes out of the NFL and ends up playing professionally in Italy. Both lighthearted and quick-to-read, Playing for Pizza reminds us that sometimes doing what you love is all that matters.
As the head coach of the storied Green Bay Packers in the 1950s and 1960s, Vince Lombardi came to epitomize football, in all its glory. Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss tells the legendary story of Lombardi’s life in this groundbreaking 2000 biography.
Believe it or not, Americans have been playing football since well before the NFL, the Super Bowl, and the modern game we know and love today. Discover the story of the first football star, who ushered in the popularity of the sport in the 1920s.
Ever wonder how fantasy football got so popular? ESPN fantasy sports personality Matthew Berry tells the history of fantasy sports, sharing the wacky stories and chronicling his own journey from a young kid obsessed with numbers to the face of fantasy football.
Best Hockey Books
Whether you’re looking to read up on some of the most famous players to ever lace up their skates or you want to relive the magic that can only come with victory on a worldwide scale, these are the books for you. Check out our favorite hockey books below:
Written by a former NHL goalie, this book gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the 1978-79 Montreal Canadiens team that would eventually go on to win the Stanley Cup. Detailing the life of a professional hockey player and exploring the demands that come with it, this book is sure to please all hockey fans.
Relive the magic of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team that stunned the world and took home the gold medal. Author Wayne R Coffey examines the story from every angle, giving a detailed picture of the young men that taught us all to believe in miracles.
Before Sidney Crosby even broke into the NHL in 2005, he was already ordained as the next hockey great. This book follows Crosby during his rookie season as he tries to live up to the hype and deliver on the high expectations for his new hometown of Pittsburgh.
Wayne Gretzky dishes on his career from minor league phenom to legendary NHL champion and Hall of Famer. Told with warmth and candor, 99 Stories of the Game lifts the curtain to reveal the true stories that shaped The Great One.
In 1948, an unlikely Canadian Hockey Team clinched the gold medal in the Olympics. But the true story isn’t as straightforward as that might sound. Discover the inspiring story of the ragtag amateurs that shocked the world and brought the gold medal back home to Canada.
Other Great Sports Books
Of course there are more than just four sports, each with fascinating stories of their own. Below are five of our favorites:
On the tennis court he was a legend, but off the court, his life was in shambles. With honesty, tennis legend Andre Agassi shares the highs and lows of his celebrated career in this engrossing autobiography.
You’ll truly have to read it to believe it. The Boys in the Boat tells the unforgettable story of the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team that shocked the world by defeating the German team rowing for Hitler in the 1936 Olympics.
The most famous American athlete of all time might very well be a horse. Seabiscuit tells the remarkable story of one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history, a crooked-legged racehorse that became an American sports icon.
They reshaped how women in sports were viewed on the way to winning four World Cups and four Olympic gold medals. Leading soccer journalist Caitlin Murray examines the storied history of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, through nearly 100 interviews with players, coaches, and officials.
Rocky Marciano was one of the most extraordinary and unexpected heavyweight champions of all time. In this revelatory new biography, award-winning journalist Mike Stanton dives into Marciano’s rise from the son of poor Italian immigrants to champion of the world.
Whether you’re looking up lines or doing research before you place your bets, we’re happy to be your sportsbook of choice. But there’s another kind of sports book that we know a thing or two about too. Pick up one of these books to get your fill of sports, whether or not you can make it in to see us in person at Circa | Sports Las Vegas.