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50 Great Sports Biographies

There is something about a great sports story that transcends audiences. Perhaps it’s because we are seemingly hardwired to root for an underdog, or fight to overcome the adversity in our own lives. Whatever the reason, inspiring sports stories — and inspiring sports biographies, in particular — are some of the most successfully sold books on the market. These fifty sports biographies, all of which are ranked by Amazon as the highest rated and bestselling of their kind, represent the very best that sports has to offer. From baseball to horse racing, the books on this list are a showcase of true stories that are bound to move and inspire readers of all ages, backgrounds, and athletic ability.

Baseball

I Never Had It Made

Jackie Robinson

I-Never-Had-It-Made-Jackie-Robinson
In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball when he was recruited by Branch Rickey to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Originally published in 1972 (the year Robinson died), this book is a full account of Robinson’s commitment to achieving justice for himself and others like him. His years as UCLA’s first four-letter athlete, his draft and subsequent court-martial during WWII, and experiences in the Negro Leagues and with the Dodgers are all in here. Robinson also offers inspiring anecdotes about sports figures he most admired, like Rickey and teammate Pee Wee Reese.
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The Kid

Ben Bradlee, Jr.
The-Kid-Ted-Williams

Undoubtedly one of the best baseball players in history, Ted Williams was the last man to hit .400 in a season. He was also insecure, a flawed husband and father, a raging hothead, and aggressive towards the press. But Bradlee’s ambitious biography accounts for both the heroics and the darker side of a man Bradlee admits in the first pages to be his hero. Bradlee spent over ten years investigating the details of Williams’s 83 years, and even includes some disturbing tidbits about Williams’s death in 2002, such as when his head was severed and cryogenically frozen after his death.
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Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Michael Lewis
Moneyball-The-Art-of-Winning-an-Unfair-Game

Michael Lewis’s bestseller is a biography of the 2002 and 2003 Oakland Athletics team and management staff. With a much smaller team budget than that of other teams, manager Billy Beane used a series of numbers and statistics to build a winning team. Among his recruits were an overweight college athlete, previously ignored triple A players, a tired catcher-turned-first baseman, and a number of older athletes discarded by bigger teams. Lewis’s account of these fascinating characters is considered one of the best books ever written about baseball, and inspired the film starring Brad Pitt as Beane.
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Babe: The Legend Comes to Life

Robert Creamer
Babe-The-Legend-Comes-to-Life

Sportswriter Robert Creamer’s extensive biography of Babe Ruth follows baseball’s most famous figure from his early childhood to his abrupt end. Originally published in 1974, a time when many of Ruth’s contemporaries were still living, Creamer’s book is a fascinating look into both baseball and life in the early twentieth century. The hardcore baseball fan will appreciate the stats and vivid descriptions of some of Ruth’s most important games, while the casual baseball fan will get caught up in the Bambino’s celebrity and sometimes surprising character.
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Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life

Richard Ben Cramer
Joe-DiMaggio-The-Heros-Life

In this book, Richard Ben Cramer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, brings to life one of the twentieth century’s biggest American heroes. Joe DiMaggio was an immigrant kid who achieved the American Dream, a New York Yankee who helped to usher the team into its current dynasty, and the sometime husband of the beautiful Marilyn Monroe. Upon its initial publication, however, Cramer’s book stirred up plenty of controversy. This is perhaps because Cramer does not hesitate to include the darker moments in DiMaggio’s life: his troubled marriage to Marilyn Monroe, his self-inflicted isolation, and living up to the impossible expectations set for him by America.
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Pete Rose: An American Dilemma

Kostya Kennedy
Pete-Rose-An-American-Dilemma

More than twenty-five years after Pete Rose’s banishment from baseball for gambling, the question of whether or not he belongs in the Hall of Fame is still as controversial as ever. Kostya Kennedy, an editor at Sports Illustrated, examines Rose’s life, from his early childhood to the baseball career in which he hit more base hits than any other player in history. Throughout the biography, Kennedy compares Rose’s talents — and mistakes — to others who have been found worthy of Cooperstown.
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Nolan Ryan: The Making of a Pitcher

Rob Goldman
Nolan-Ryan-The-Making-of-a-Pitcher

During his 27 years as a major league pitcher, Nolan Ryan was named an All-Star eight times, pitched seven no-hitters, and threw more than 5,700 strikeouts. Ron Goldman’s comprehensive biography follows Ryan from the start of his professional career in 1965 to his retirement in 1993. Goldman also includes anecdotes and personal recollections from various coaches, stadium workers, fans, trainers, and players in an attempt to fully discover and illustrate what makes Ryan one of history’s most beloved and respected ball players.
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They Called Me God: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived

Doug Harvey
They-Called-Me-God-The-Best-Umpire-Who-Ever-Lived

While there are hundreds of biographies written about baseball players, there are far fewer about those behind the scenes. Doug Harvey was a California farm boy and minor league umpire before hard work and dedication helped him break into the big leagues in 1962. They Called Me God is Harvey’s account of the things he saw from his spot behind the plate. Some of the book’s more memorable stories include Roberto Clemente’s three-thousandth hit, the contentious 1968 World Series, and laying down the law with legendary managers like Tommy Lasorda and Joe Torre.
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The Closer

Mariano Rivera
The-Closer-Mariano-Rivera

When he was recruited by the New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera did not own a glove, had never flown in an airplane, could not speak English, and had never heard of Babe Ruth. Rivera’s bestselling autobiography tells the story of his evolution from the son of a poor fisherman in Panama to one of the greatest relief pitchers of all time. In addition to stories about the Yankees, the discovery of his iconic fastball, and the 2001 World Series, Rivera very honestly describes the challenges that come with being both a latino and a Christian in the world of professional baseball in the United States.
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The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg

Nicholas Dawidoff
The-Catcher-Was a-Spy-TheMysterious-Life-of-Moe-Berg

Moe Berg’s baseball card is the only one of its kind on display at CIA headquarters. This is because in addition to his 15-year career as a catcher for the New York Robins and Chicago White Sox, Berg served as a spy for the OSS (the CIA’s predecessor) during World War II. Though there are not many known, definitive facts about Berg’s life, Nicholas Dawidoff follows Berg’s career from pitcher, to law professor at Columbia University, to OSS spy investigating Nazi Germany’s atomic bomb program.
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The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter

Ian O’Connor
The-Captain-The-Journey-of-Derek-Jeter

In this bestselling book about one of our most beloved sports figures, author Ian O’Connor investigates Derek Jeter’s early life as a biracial kid in Michigan, to his struggles as a minor leaguer. Reflecting more than fifteen years of unique access to Jeter, O’Connor records the Yankee superstar’s journey to becoming the Prince of New York, while faithfully offering a glimpse into Jeter’s hidden struggles and complexities. Included in the book are Jeter’s tense battles with former best friend Alex Rodriguez, and the contentious final contract negotiations with the only team for which Jeter ever cared to play.
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Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball

R.A. Dickey

Wherever-I-Wind-Up-My-Quest-for-Truth-Authenticity-and-the-Perfect-Knuckleball

As an English Lit graduate of the University of Tennessee, pitcher R.A. Dickey was the number one draft pick by the Texas Rangers — only to be sidelined by an unlucky x-ray discovery. Nearly ten years later, Dickey had climbed his way back onto the pitcher’s mound only to give up a record six home runs in only three innings. Still Dickey persevered and became one of the premier pitchers in Major League baseball during the 2010 season. Wherever I Wind Up is Dickey’s story of redemption, beating his demons, overcoming odds, and keeping his faith in the face of adversity.
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Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero

David Maraniss
Clemente-The-Passion-and-Grace-of-Baseballs-Last-Hero

Roberto Clemente had over 3,000 hits during his 17-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He won four batting titles, led his team to two championships, and was one of only two players to have the five-year waiting period waived before his induction into the Hall of Fame. In this acclaimed biography, bestselling author David Maraniss passionately details the life of both Clemente the Man and Clemente the Myth, beginning with Clemente’s entrance into baseball as one of the first Puerto Rican players, to his untimely death in a plane crash.
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Imperfect: An Improbable Life

Jim Abbott, Tim Brown

Imperfect-An-Improbable-Life

Pitcher Jim Abbott was an ace pitcher at the University of Michigan, won the gold medal game at the 1988 Olympics, and cracked the Major League starting rotation without ever playing in the minor leagues — all without a right hand. In his memoir, Abbott offers honest insight into the countless challenges he faced on his path to the Major Leagues, the insecurities he dealt with, and his many meaningful encounters with disabled children. Abbott also includes a pitch-by-pitch account of his famous no-hitter.
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Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back

Josh Hamilton

Beyond-Belief-Finding-the-Strength-to-Come-Back
In 2001, while steadily working his way from the minors to the majors, first round draft pick Josh Hamilton’s promising career spiraled into four years of drug and alcohol abuse, estrangement from friends and family, and an eventual suspension from baseball. His “no excuses” memoir details the events leading up to his fall, and also chronicles the tough spiritual and mental journey that led to his successful, but unlikely, comeback to the Major Leagues.
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Basketball

Eleven Rings

Phil Jackson

Eleven-Rings-Phil-Jackson
As head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson won more championships than any other coach, in any sport, in history. In Eleven Rings, Jackson describes his reinvention from a South Dakota preacher’s son to the innovative “Zen master” he became known as. Included in the memoir are Jackson’s accounts of playing for the champion New York Knicks, his strategy of inspiring — not goading — his individual team members, and coaching players like Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and Kobe Bryant.
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Wooden: A Coach’s Life

Seth Davis
Wooden-A-Coachs-Life

There is no college basketball coach more famous than John Wooden. The UCLA coach led his team to an 88-game winning streak that included ten NCAA championships in twelve seasons. Seth Davis, a journalist for Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports, conducted more than two hundred interviews with players, opponents, coaches, and even Wooden himself, to write this detailed and inspiring account of Wooden’s long and successful career. Also included in Wooden’s story are anecdotes and memories from some of Wooden’s players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, and Walt Hazzard, among others.
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Michael Jordan: The Life

Roland Lazenby
Michael-Jordan-The-Life

Hailed as the definitive biography of basketball’s most legendary player, Michael Jordan: The Life follows Jordan’s career from college to the pros, and beyond. To piece together this account of Jordan’s career from college to the pros, author Roland Lazenby interviewed coaches, friends, teammates, family members, and even Jordan himself. Though Lazenby faithfully recreates Jordan’s most spectacular moments and games, he also rightfully sheds light on Jordan’s mentality of ruthless competition and affinity with gambling.
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In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court

Brittney Griner
In-My-Skin-My-Life-On-and-Off-the-Basketball-Court

Arguably the world’s most famous female basketball player, Brittney Griner was the number one draft pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, has become known as a dunking phenom and national sensation, and was recently referred to by Sports Illustrated as “the sport’s most transformative figure.” But In My Skin is the painfully honest account of Griner’s life as both the star of the Phoenix Mercury, and the long-time target of vicious bullying. By reflecting upon her most painful experiences, Griner sends a powerful message about the importance of staying true to oneself.
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Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich

Mark Kriegal
Pistol-The-Life-of-Pete-Maravich

As a college player at Louisiana State University, Pete Maravich scored an average of 44.2 points per game. Setting records unlikely to ever be beat, “Pistol Pete” was a basketball icon for people of all ages. In Pistol, author Mark Kriegal illuminates the much darker parts of the Maravich family, from Pete’s demanding, basketball-obsessed father to the hundreds of contradictions exhibited by Maravich himself. Kriegal’s Maravich family history doubles as a history of basketball and a narrative on American fathers and sons.
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Drive

Larry Bird
Drive-Larry-Bird

Larry Bird has been called the greatest all-around player in the history of basketball, but very little is really known about the famously private superstar. In his honest and insightful memoir, Bird reveals the rarely-seen side of himself. Among the things he discusses are his famous transfer from Bobby Knight’s Indiana University, his father’s suicide, the Isaiah Thomas controversy, and the intense Celtic-Laker rivalry. Bird also includes his feelings about players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Dominique Wilkins, among others.
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Boxing

Muhammad Ali

Thomas Hauser
Boxing-Muhammad-Ali

In this bestselling biography, Thomas Hauser tells the incredible story of Muhammad Ali — from his childhood, to his gold medal fight at the Rome Olympics, to his epic battles against Joe Frazier, and beyond. Using the words of more than 200 of Ali’s friends, family members, opponents, world leaders, and others, Hauser composites a portrait of a religious, mercurial, generous, competitive, and extraordinary man. Hauser is an unapologetic admirer of Ali, though spins both his admiration and facts into a cohesive and faithful account of Ali’s life and career.
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Undisputed Truth

Mike Tyson and Larry Sloman
Undisputed-Truth

There many be no other athlete in all of sports who has defied convention the way Mike Tyson has. In addition to being one of the most ferocious boxers of all time, Tyson is a philosopher, broadway performer, film star, and felon. In Undisputed Truth, Tyson opens up about his childhood in one of the toughest, poorest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and the experiences that led to the highs and lows of his thrilling career.
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Cycling

Half Man, Half Bike: The Life of Eddy Merckx, Cycling’s Greatest Champion

William Fotheringham
Cycling-Half-Man-Half-Bike

Though his name may not be as universally known, Eddy Merckx is the best cyclist in the history of the sport. Over the course of his career, Merckx amassed 445 victories — nearly five times the number of victories claimed by Lance Armstrong. This British bestseller tells the incredible story of Merckx’s extreme competitive nature and fear of failure, which carried him through a terrible injury, a doping controversy, and the highest pinnacles of success before ultimately destroying him.
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Football

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

Michael Lewis
Football-The-Blind-Side-Evolution-of-a-Game

Though he is now one of the highest paid athletes in the National Football League, left tackle Michael Oher was all too recently a neglected child of a crack addicted mother, who did not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or how to read or white. When a rich, white family takes him into their home and introduces him to football, Oher blossoms into a name on the wish list of every college coach in the country.
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When Pride Still Mattered: The Life of Vince Lombardi

David Maraniss
When-Pride-Still-Mattered-The-Life-of-Vince-Lombardi

Vince Lombardi is undoubtedly a football legend. First given the chance to coach a professional team at age forty-six, Lombardi led the Green Bay Packers to five world championships in nine seasons. Lombardi’s famous principals of leadership, discipline, and teamwork made him a living legend and a name synonymous with modern football. Also included in this bestselling biography is Lombardi’s early childhood as the son of an Italian immigrant butcher and his many years as a high school football coach.
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Coming Back Stronger: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity

Drew Brees
Coming-Back-Stronger-Unleashing-the-Hidden-Power-of-Adversity

Coming Back Stronger is the personal account of a quarterback and football team that most people had all but given up on. As New Orleans began the daunting task of recovering from Hurricane Katrina, NFL quarterback Drew Brees began a seemingly impossible comeback of his own. Left without a team after a serious shoulder injury, Brees became the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. Though the team was forced to play their entire 2005 season on the road, Brees achieved the impossible and turned adversity into success. His memoir aims to prove that faith and determination is enough to overcome any obstacle.
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Through My Eyes

Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker
Through-My-Eyes

From his first week of Pop Warner practice to his rookie year as quarterback for the Denver Broncos, Through My Eyes is the story of a determined Tim Tebow’s unlikely rise to the NFL. Included in this bestselling memoir are stories from his childhood in the Philippines, his unwavering faith in God’s plan, the challenges he faced as a young quarterback, his record-setting college years, and his draft in the first round of the NFL Draft.
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Golf

Arnold Palmer

Thomas Hauser
Golf-Arnold-Palmer

Over the course of his career, Arnold Palmer won 92 tournaments, was the first golfer to earn more than one million dollars in winnings, and was the first four-time winner of the prestigious Masters championship. Surprisingly, the same man who became the first athlete to capitalize on endorsement opportunities remained largely private and unknown. Through interviews with Palmer, his family, friends, opponents, and business associates, bestselling author Thomas Hauser paints an intimate portrait of the golf legend.
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Gymnastics

Grace, Gold, and Glory

Gabrielle Douglas and Michelle Burford
Grace-Gold-and-Glory

Olympian gymnast Gabrielle Douglas was Virginia State Champion at only eight years old, and the first U.S. gymnast in history to win both a team and individual gold medal at a single Olympic games. In her bestselling memoir, Douglas describes her early dedication to gymnastics and what it was like leaving her family in Virginia to train with a coach in Des Moines, Iowa. She chronicles her years of hard work, dedication, and faith to illustrate her powerful message that anything can be achieved through hard work.
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Hockey

Orr: My Story

Bobby Orr
Orr-My-Story

No other defensive player has changed the course of more games, received as many trophies, or set as many records as Bobby Orr did during his decade-long career. Painfully shy, the superstar always remained a mystery to fans and journalists. In his bestselling biography, Orr finally reveals what drove him to excellence and success. Included are stories about his small-town childhood, his sudden thrust into the media limelight, and the betrayal of the manager he thought of as a brother.
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The Game

Ken Dryden
The-Game-Ken-Dryden

Hailed by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Best Sports Books of All Time, The Game follows the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970s through the eyes of its goalie, Ken Dryden. Dryden discusses his life and the early experiences that led up to his time with what many refer to as one of the greatest hockey teams in history. Also included are anecdotes of legendary players such as Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, and coach Scotty Bowman.
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Horse Racing

Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Laura Hillenbrand
Seabiscuit-An-American-Legend

In 1938, a scrappy little Thoroughbred named Seabiscuit received more press coverage than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Adolph Hitler, or Benito Mussolini. Laura Hillenbrand’s meticulously researched bestseller tells the story of the crooked-legged little horse and the three men who made him a champion: Charles Howard, the millionaire who introduced America to the automobile; Tom Smith, a mysterious Mustang breaker turned trainer of racehorses; and Red Pollard, a half-crippled, partly blind jockey.
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The Horse That God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World’s Greatest Racehorse

Lawrence Scanlan
The-Horse-That-God-Built

You don’t have to be a fan of horse racing to know the name Secretariat. The only two-year old to ever win Horse of the Year, “Big Red” graced covers of magazines like Time and Newsweek, and won the 1973 Triple Crown races in record times. In The Horse That God Built, Equestrian writer Lawrence Scanlan offers a groom’s eye view to horse racing, and details the struggles and successes of the world’s greatest racehorse and his unlikely team.
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Ice Skating

A Skating Life: My Story

Dorothy Hamill and Deborah Amelon
A-Skating-Life-My-Story

At age 19, “America’s Sweetheart” Dorothy Hamill won Olympic Gold in ice skating. But her life was far from the picture of perfection it appeared to be. In A Skating Life, Hamill opens up about the painful depression that plagued her from the time was young, and recreates her demanding training schedule with competitions that took her away from home for weeks and months at a time. Her bestselling memoir is Hamill’s discovery of true happiness both on and off the ice.
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Martial Arts

A Fighter’s Heart: One Man’s Journey Through the World of Fighting

Sam Sheridan
A-Fighters-Heart-One-Mans-Journey-Through-the-World-of-Fighting

In 1999, Sam Sheridan was given the opportunity to focus on a long-dormant passion: fighting. Less than a year later, he was learning from a top coach in Bangkok and facing Olympic boxers, Brazilian jiu-jitsu masters, and Ultimate Fighting champions. A Fighter’s Heart chronicles Sheridan’s discoveries of what it’s like to hit and be hit. In addition to his incredible stories, Sheridan offers a behind-the-scenes look at both the violence and pageantry of fighting sports.
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Mountaineering

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival

Joe Simpson
Touching-the-Void-The-True Story-of-One-Mans-Miraculous-Survival

Joe Simpson had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when he fell off the vertical face of a ledge and broke his leg. Though his climbing partner, Simon Yates, attempted to lower Simpson to safety, a raging blizzard forced him to cut Simpson’s rope in order to save his own life. What followed were three terrifying days in which both men thought the other was dead. Touching the Void is Simpson’s account of harrowing journey of fear, suffering, survival, friendship, and longtime love of mountain climbing.
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Soccer

Pelé: The Autobiography

Pelé
Pelé-The-Autobiography

As one of the greatest soccer players to run on a soccer pitch, Pelé has won countless league victories and three World Cup Championships while playing for his home country of Brazil. He is also an avid proponent of soccer’s universal power and influence. In his bestselling autobiography, Pelé traces his meteoric rise to fame from his poverty-stricken start in the streets of Sao Paulo to his more recent role of UN Ambassador and human rights activist.
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Red Men: Liverpool Football Club: The Biography

John Williams
Red-Men-Liverpool-Football-Club-The-Biography

John William’s biography of the Liverpool Football Club traces soccer’s inseparable roots with those of Liverpool, England. First founded in 1892, the Liverpool Football Club has played a large role in the social, cultural, political, and economical development of its city. Through extensive research, William narrates the entire history of the Club, and profiles the men responsible for its many successes. The result is a bestselling team portrait that seeks to understand how the features and character of a team can shape an entire city and its people.
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Gerrard: My Autobiography

Steven Gerrard
Gerrard-My-Autobiography

Steven Gerrard is a name synonymous with English football (soccer). The inspirational captain of the Liverpool Football Club, Gerrard also proved himself as a key player on the England team. In this autobiography, Gerrard recreates his childhood obsession with the sport, and chronicles his career from the early days with Liverpool through his career high moment of winning in Istanbul, and beyond. Also included is a blow-by-blow account of England’s 2006 World Cup Campaign in rival country Germany.
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Hope Solo: My Story

Hope Solo
Hope-Solo-My-Story

After bursting onto the national stage during the 2011 Women’s World Cup, Hope Solo became an Olympic gold medalist, was declared America’s sexiest athlete, and even competed on the hit television show Dancing With the Stars. Now an idol and role model to thousands of young soccer players, Solo writes candidly about her early life of family, loss, and reconciliation. Included are stories about growing up on a defunct nuclear testing site, her rocky relationship with her con-man father, and her unlikely rise to extreme success.
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Surfing

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

Bethany Hamilton
Soul-Surfer-A-True-Story-of-Faith-Family-and-Fighting-to-Get-Back-on-the-Board

Bethany Hamilton was a thirteen-year old surfer girl living in Kauai, Hawaii when she lost her left arm to a tiger shark. But when Hamilton woke up from her surgery, the first thing she asked was when she would be able to surf again. Soul Surfer is Hamilton’s moving account of her life as a young surfer, her memories of the attack, and her amazing recovery that resulted in a top showing at the World Surfing Championships.
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Making Mavericks: The Memoir of a Surfing Legend

Frosty Hesson
Making-Mavericks-The-Memoir-of-a-Surfing-Legend

Richard “Frosty” Hesson was one of the first surfers to conquer Mavericks — the huge waves that form off of the Northern California coast. Today, he’s known as one of the greatest wave riders to ever live. In Making Mavericks, Hesson recalls his difficult childhood, early passion for water, and the experiences that led to the development of his unique teaching philosophy. Hesson also discusses Jay Moriarty, one of his best students, who followed Hesson’s philosophy and became a surfing legend in his own right.
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Tennis

Open

Andre Agassi
Open-Andre-Agassi

Andre Agassi is one of the best tennis players to ever live. By age twenty-two, he had won his first of eight eventual grand slams, securing in a single victory a lifetime’s worth of wealth and celebrity. But Agassi spent most of his life unhappy and confused. Open chronicles the highs and lows of Agassi’s career, from his early childhood with his demanding father, to his rapid ascension into stardom, to his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields, and beyond.
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Days of Grace

Arthur Ashe and Arnold Rampersad
Days-of-Grace

If African-American tennis star Arthur Ashe’s bestselling memoir were only about his entrance into the all-white world of tennis in the 1960s, it would be interesting enough. But most of Ashe’s Days of Grace focuses on the 1980s, during which time he contracted the AIDS virus through a post-heart surgery blood transfusion. Though Ashe was not a homosexual, his experiences living with AIDS made him a sympathetic activist for the gay community. Ashe also writes about growing up with his demanding father, battling players like John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, and his rise to success in the sport he loved.
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Rafa

Rafael Nadal and John Carlin
Rafa-Rafael-Nadal-and-John-Carlin

Currently ranked #1 in the world, Rafael Nadal has won nine Grand Slam titles, a career “Golden Slam,” and an Olympic medal. In his best selling autobiography, Nadal takes readers through his childhood and early career to reveal what he believes to be the secret to his success: supportive parents and family, who taught him humility, candor, and the value of hard work. Nadal also provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look at his Wimbledon win in 2008, and discusses the injuries that have continuously threatened his career.
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Track & Running

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

Laura Hillenbrand
Unbroken-A-World-War-II-Story-of-Survival-Resilience-and-Redemption

Like many athletes of the 1930s, track and field star Louis Zamperini went from winning titles and medals to serving the United States in the second world war. In Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand chronicles Zamperini’s incredible life — from his delinquent childhood, to the discovery of his talent for running, to his success at the Berlin Olympics, and finally, to his harrowing years as a pilot in the war. Through Zamperini’s varied life experiences, Hillenbrand illustrates the power of the human body, mind, and spirit.
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Born to Run

Christopher McDougall
Born-to-Run

Returning from a run one day, runner Christopher McDougall asked himself why his foot was hurting. His answer led him to Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, where the Tarahumara Indians have perfected their ability to run hundreds of miles without rest of injury. While reflecting upon his own life experiences and love of running, McDougall follows his fascination with the Tarahumara to a Harvard science lab, various North American hotspots for “ultra-runners,” and finally, back to the Copper Canyons to watch America’s best ultra-runners race against the tribe. The story of his research culminates with McDougall’s realization that we were all born to run.
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Run to Overcome: The Inspiring Story of an American Champion’s Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream

Meb Keflezighi
Run-to-Overcome-The-Inspiring-Story-of-an-American-Champions-Long-Distance-Quest-to-Achieve-a-Big-Dream

A living example of the American Dream, Eritrean-born Meb Keflezighi represented the United States in two Olympic games and several World Championships, and was the first American in 27 years to win the New York City marathon. In Run to Overcome, Keflezighi chronicles his life of hardships. He documents his family’s escape to America from poverty and a violent war, the devastating injury in which he broke his pelvis, and the sudden death of his close friend and fellow runner. He also describes the freedom that comes with running, and his discovery of the real meaning of victory.
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Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics

Jeremy Schaap
Triumph-The-Untold-Story-of-Jesse-Owens-and-Hitlers-Olympics

Ironically, the star of the 1936 Berlin Olympics — Hitler’s propaganda-fueled entry onto the national stage — was an African-American named Jesse Owens. With four gold medal wins, Owens single-handedly demolished Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy. In Triumph, Jeremy Schaap exhausted archival research to tell the story of the talented son of Cleveland sharecroppers and the many challenges in his young life that ultimately led to triumph at the “Nazi Olympics.”
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