The 8 Best Sports Biographies Every Fan Must Read

It is often said that one of the benefits of reading is that it allows you to borrow someone else’s brain. It is such a personal medium and the most direct translation of an individual’s thoughts. This somewhat explains our fascination with biographies centered on the best athletes in sport. Very few have the same degree of mental toughness as those who compete at the top level of their sporting field.

The books on this list give you insight into the ups and downs – both professional and private – that the whole world has witnessed from the outside. They remind us that the shortcomings of our character are also felt by the most successful competitors in the world, but also show us what it takes to overcome them. the Boss Hunt The list of the best sports biographies will give one book per sport and explain why each is worth your time.

This list will also be limited to books centered on athletes from each sport, which excludes some interesting entries such as Shoe Dog, Overexcitementand silver ball. While the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Phil Jackson were also athletes at some point in their respective professional careers, either of their biographies are also excluded from this list given the focus on their managerial/coaching skills.

Without further ado, here is our list of the best sports biographies for your own inspiration.

RELATED: 5 Classic Pieces of Literature Every Man Should Read Before He Turns 25

The 8 Best Sports Biographies Ever Written

The fight

Author: Norman Mailer
Year of publication: 1975

Centered on one of the greatest boxing matches of all time, this 1975 book details the story of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s “Rumble in the Jungle” the year before. Mailer is able to offer one of the most nuanced portrayals of Ali to date. We see Ali’s trashy, crowd-pleasing talk in direct comparison to the stoic, cunning silence of Foreman, who at this point in his career had never lost a fight.

It’s a short read, but one that really captures the sense of scale of this clash between two great minds and unwavering egos. For a boxing fan, this is a must.


Open Agassi 1

Author: Andre Agassi and JR Moehringer
Year of publication: 2009

This one is really fantastic. One of the greatest sports biographies of all time was written by a man who hates the sport he played. Although there are so many things to remember about Agassi Open, the main one is the deep loneliness that can be felt in the world of professional tennis. In an era before social media, the man was often unfairly characterized in the public eye. Open doesn’t attempt to tell you how you feel about the man, but he does embrace his insecurities.

From his complex upbringing by his drill sergeant father (the man who tried to give Agassi speed before his games to improve his performance) to his high-profile relationship with Brooke Shields, to the revelation that his iconic mule was only not an act of rebellion, but actually a way of covering up his baldness, this one offers the most comprehensive portrait of one of history’s most beloved athletes and one of the most gifted men to ever tread. a tennis court.

Barbarian Days: A Life of Surfing

sports biographies

Author:William Finnegan
Year of publication: 2016

Chances are, you’ll never love anything in your life as much as this guy seems to be in love with surfing. The Pulitzer Prize Winner Barbarian Days: A Life of Surfing is a masterfully written memoir by the new yorker writer William Finnegan, who tells the story of this man’s passion for surfing.

While the appeal for this one might not be there if you’re not interested in surfing, this one is more about what it means to be passionate about something. His descriptions of what he experiences while surfing are truly special. Other than that, it’s a fun story of a dropout who travels with his buddy doing acid, chasing good waves, and making money wherever he can.

Tiger Woods

sports biographies

Author: Armen Keteyan and Jeff Benedict
Year of publication: 2018

This one is seriously elevated by its subject matter. Even if it managed to be as interesting a fraction as the man it is, it would still earn its place on this list. Tiger Woods is one of the most fascinating individuals in all of sport, and this definitive biography captures the rise(s) and fall(es) of a transcendent golf icon.

Drawing on more than 400 interviews from every corner of the man’s life by two of the world’s most acclaimed investigative journalists, we get the most comprehensive portrait of the very first billion-dollar athlete that we probably never will.

Touching the Void

Touching the Void Simpson

Author: Joe Simpson
Year of publication: 1988

You may have also seen the documentary of the same name that this one sparked, but that’s just sheer madness. Touching the Void chronicles the near-fatal descent from the 6,344-meter summit of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes by Joe Simpson and Simon Yates.

The courage, methodology, and luck of these two men facing mortal danger are just a few of the things that make this story so gripping. No food or water, freezing temperatures, falling from great heights and crawling great distances on broken limbs… This is one of the most remarkable stories of human survival you will ever read.

The bad guys won!

The bad guys won

Author: Jeff Pearlman
Year of publication: 2004

Okay, this one probably won’t inspire you much…but it’s a damn good read for any sports fan. Jeff Pearlman, the author of the book Show time which inspired the HBO series about the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s, is trying to take on the most notorious team in baseball history.

The 1986 New York Mets players were known for a lot of things: sucking big lines of cocaine, racking up $7,500 in damage on their plane, gambling foul, brawling in a bar, doing petticoats and ingesting a cocktail amphetamines and beer between the sleeves. , just to name a few. As pitcher Bobby Ojeda told Pearlman in this book:

“We were a bunch of mean motherfuckers.”

Despite all that, they were a damn good baseball team. Achieve a dramatic finale in Game 6 of the World Series, this story is an absolute riot from start to finish.

born to run

sports biographies

Author: Christopher McDougall
Year of publication: 2009

born to run is fascinating. Here we follow McDougall as he journeys into the copper canyons of Mexico to learn about the Tarahumara – an Indian tribe of “super athletes”. The Tarahumara were legendary for their ability to run for several days at a stretch, in sandals, on a primitive vegetarian diet containing little protein.

McDougall is able to illustrate the diet problems of most Americans and claim that most running injuries can be traced to the invention of the modern running shoe in 1972. Bill Bowerman and Nike sold consumers a running style that required padding their shoes as a marketing ploy.

born to run is a captivating read that reminds you how amazing the human body is.

Michael Jordan: Life

Michael Jordan Biography

Author: Roland Lazenby
Year of publication: 2014

You watched the last dance. You know the moments. The shrug, the shot, the flu game. At this point, everything is so ingrained in the basketball zeitgeist, what more can be said here?

Lazenby’s biography gives us the most honest portrayal of Michael Jordan to date. After interviewing countless coaches, teammates, family members, as well as the man himself, at the end of these 720 pages, you just got to know the man behind this legend we all know is MJ.

About Marie A. Gingrich

Check Also

Best running shoes for men 2022: Brooks, Nike, Saucony and more

Stylish running shoes cost a dime a dozen. The best running shoes balance a design …