There have been plenty of books based around sport over the years – many the formulaic autobiographical type or a typical little team rags to riches story. But here, we have decided to look at the best. The crème de la crème of sports writing, the books any self-respecting sports fanatic should have on their bookshelf.
Open by Andre Agassi (2009)
This really is a must-read, even if you aren’t a tennis fan. Agassi takes us through his tortured career, little of it he enjoyed. He gives us a peak behind the curtain, revealing all. His ill-fated first marriage to Brooke Shields among other things. It’s all in the book.
Speaking about his book, Agassi said: “I knew in the book I had to expose everything.”
It isn’t all bleak though. He also reveals how life-changing meeting and then marrying Steffi Graf was. Allowing him to love life again. The ghostwriter, JR Moehringer, was allowed 250 hours of exclusive interview time with Agassi, instead of the industry typical 30. It really shows.
The Jordan Rules by Sam Smith (1993)
If you have seen ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary ‘The Last Dance’, you will know just how explosive the book was at its release. It isn’t an overstatement to say it threatened the success of the entire Chicago Bulls franchise. It exposed Jordan as an egomaniac and bully who was at war with Chicago’s management.
The Jordan Rules is an intense, revealing examination of MJ’s powerhouse Bulls. Turning the microscope on coach Phil Jackson, a flower child turned NBA coach and GM Jerry Krause – all of whom had their struggles with Jordan.
Smith’s access to the Bulls is incredible and perhaps never again will we get such an unfiltered account of a sporting behemoth. Especially following years of struggle after Jordan’s departure, with the Bulls now so far out from winning an NBA championship in the latest basketball odds, a return to good times seems distant.
The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro by Joe McGinniss (1999)
This book was a real departure for McGinniss. A US writer famous for his fascinating book on Richard Nixon, The Selling of the President (1968), he fell in love with football during the 1994 USA World Cup in which Italy had lost the final on penalties.
He fell so hard for football that he soon moved to Italy and followed a tiny football club by the name of Castel Di Sangro. McGinnis manages to capture the madness which saw the team rise through the country’s football pyramid and into Serie B. One division below the top tier. However, during this fairy tale, something sinister bubbled, which is all uncovered in this book.