Wednesday’s List of 13: The Professor’s favorite sports books

My friend Dave is very smart, a professional educator- he reads a lot of books. Here is his list of his favorite sports books.

Very hard to do this list, I read around 40 books a year and at least a quarter of them fall into the sports genre, here we go:

My 13 favorite all time sports books (in alphabetical order, by author)

— “Giant Steps: An Autobiography” by Kareem Abdul- Jabbar- Another childhood athletic hero, Kareem writes like people wished he spoke with the media in those days (powerful stuff on his conversion to Islam)

— “Open” by Andre Agassi- My tennis idol as a kid, we all tried to hit the ball on the rise like Andre (and I did have the denim shorts!); Agassi is very honest about how he feels about his family, his childhood, his coaches, his sport

— “Men in Green” by Michael Bamberger- If you miss golf in the 1960s/70s, this one is for you

— “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton- Can’t have a list like this without Bouton’s ground breaking look behind the curtain

— “The Red Rose Crew” by Daniel J Boyne: Looks at the 1975 US women’s crew team, well written and researched, if you want to have some understanding of some true pioneers of women athletes, this is your book

—- “The Game” by Ken Dryden- Diary of a week in the life of one of the greatest hockey goalies of all time, he writes well and thinks deep

— “Summer of ’49” by David Halberstam- About the one game playoff between the Yankees and Red Sox that settled the 1949 AL pennant; wonderful portraits of a bunch of great characters, plus a meditation on post war America, and the coming importance of television

— “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times” by Thomas Hauser- This came out in the mid 90s, an oral history with around 200 commentators, there’s more current books that are good but I really like this one for the voices and perspectives

— “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand- The life of an old trainer, a washed up jockey and a broken hearted owner come together to find the most unlikely sports hero of the 1930s (this horse was world famous)- great read but it’s ok to see the movie instead 🙂

— “Michael Jordan: The Life”  by Roland Lazemby- My favorite athlete of all time, this is an unflinching portrait (Halberstam and Stan Smith have really good Jordan books as well)

— “When Pride Still Mattered” by David Marannis- A great biography of Vince Lombardi by a dogged reporter and master wordsmith

— “A Sense of Where You Are” by John McPhee- The classic book about Bill Bradley when he was at Princeton, if you haven’t read any McPhee you’re in for a treat

— “The Big Bam” by Leigh Montville- A really fun biography of Babe Ruth

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.