Never Shut Up
Marcellus Wiley brings a fascinating perspective to his examination of football: his background includes extensive study of sociology at Columbia University coupled with a decade of playing football in the NFL. This disparate set of experiences gives him a unique perspective on the current state of the game, which he explores in Never Shut Up.
Basketball inspires a particular dedication among its viewers, whether they’re watching the NBA, WNBA, or NCAA. In this oral history of the sport, Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew, and Dan Klores explore all facets of it, from larger-than-life personalities to how the sport has reflected social change over the years. The result is a fascinating look at one sport’s evolution.
Michael Lombardi has had a storied career in football, having worked for a host of championship teams (most recently the New England Patriots) and earning acclaim for his knowledge from figures inside and outside the league. In Gridiron Genius, he shares what he’s learned from a lifetime in the sport.
The Last Pass
Gary M. Pomerantz
In Gary Pomerantz’s The Last Pass, he takes readers back to the world of the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and focuses on the connection between two members of that storied team: Bob Cousy and Bill Russell. In examining their bond on and off the court, and of Cousy’s subsequent regrets, Pomerantz explores the overlap between athletics and societal progress.
The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling
If your favorite sports fan is drawn to larger-than-life figures, bizarre physical feats, and unexpected twists of fate, it’s very likely that professional wrestling holds more than a little appeal for them. In this illustrated book, Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno delve into wrestling’s history, explore some of its most infamous figures, and trace its popularity across the globe.
John Feinstein has written extensively about the world of sports, providing both a ground-level view of the athlete’s perspective and a broader context of how sports are played and perceived. In his new book, he focuses on five NFL quarterbacks, exploring what their experiences can teach the reader about the nature of the sport and its effect on those who play it.
How Cycling Can Save the World
The appeal of cycling spans geography: for some, it’s an ideal way to get around a city, while for others, it’s perfect for exploring rural trails and woodlands. In Peter Walker’s How Cycling Saves the World, he explores the positive impacts of spending time on one’s bicycle, from bringing cities together to improving personal health.
In 2014, Ben Reiter correctly predicted in Sports Illustrated that the Houston Astros would win the World Series three years later—a claim that baffled many at the time. Astroball is Reiter’s exploration of just how the Astros pulled this off, and the different factors that contributed to a shift in thinking that dramatically paid off.
In 1968 and 1969, two teams from the same segregated Ohio high school won statewide championships in baseball and basketball—an unexpected feat during a period of massive social change. Wil Haygood’s Tigerland provides a dramatic and compelling window into the people who made this possible, along with a sense of how those victories echoed larger shifts in the nation.
In Sam Anderson’s Boom Town, the author explores the history and unlikely rise of Oklahoma City since its founding in 1889. A major part of this story comes through the tumultuous history of the Oklahoma City Thunder, a gripping tale of one team’s ups and downs, and how they came to reflect the pulse of a city.
Maybe the sports fan in your life obsessively follows March Madness every year, or they’ve dedicated their winters to a storied NHL team. There are many books out there that can decode the intricacies of sports, creating enlightening profiles of athletes and coaches, or turning the complex strategies of gameplay into something riveting on the page. Great books about sports can heighten the knowledge of even a seasoned viewer of the game; they can also make the case for a particular sport to someone who’s entirely new to it. We bring you ten books for sports fans: game on.
Editor: Eliza Smith; Featured Image: Matt McCarty