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American Sports Books to Read in 2021

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America’s love of sports – many almost regional to North America – has led to some great stories and even better books. From underdogs to the underbelly of some of the greatest teams ever – the stories illustrate aspects of their sports everyone

Football for a Buck

Before you could bet on football for a buck – or for free with the Bet365 new user welcome bonus – a former United States President was suing the NFL. The book’s primary focus is the USFL – an upstart American football league – aimed at challenging the NFL for football dominance in American. The tale is an interesting example of the lines between success and failure – and how one loud voice with alternate goals can derail something before it can reach its goals.

Moneyball

One of the most famous sports books of the 21st century – Moneyball – is also considered one of the best. Michael Lewis inscribes the story of a baseball that revolutionizes analytics to build a winning team. The concept behind Moneyball is simple. How do you make a winning team based on statistics and not spending money?

The result – albeit a little misleading if you only watch the movie – is a quality team that overachieves despite the $100 million difference in payroll to the richest clubs. The book – unlike the movie – also covers the history of Bill James and how he created baseball analytics. Overall, the sport and math story – cover brilliantly by Michael Lewis – is appealing in so many more ways than you may think if you go into it blind.

“MIND MAP OF MONEYBALL BY MICHAEL LEWIS” by Austin Kleon is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Paper Lions

Paper Lions by George Plimpton – the famous Sports Illustrated writer – is the story of (Plimpton) asking the age-old question. How would an average person fare attempting to play a professional sport? The results make for one of the best sports books – even if you believe athletes were not the same in the 60s.

Plimpton has plenty more books to read as well – including one on my shelf called Mad Ducks and Bears about offensive lineman that is on my list. Intrigued and worth a read.

Ball Four

I have yet to read this book – partly due to the difficulty in finding it – but I know it is held in the highest of esteem. The book details the New York Yankees in the late 60s – going into details on the womanizing, drug use, and everything else you keep hush-hush. Author – Jim Boulton – was criticized by teammates for revealing the details of their pre-game and post-game behaviour, which makes the book all the more iconic and timeless fifty years later.

The Bad Guys Won

“Jeff Pearlman” by slgckgc is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Maybe I am a homer for Jeff Pearlman – having read many of his books – but he is a true savant of the sports genre. In arguably his greatest book, Pearlman drives into the 1986 New York Mets and all the personalities that made them one of baseball’s most memorable teams. From plane ride antics to substance abuse, the book details the rise and fall of a team that will never be forgotten.

Three Ring Circus

So, you are probably thinking to yourself “this guy loves Jeff Pearlman.” You are right but he is the best. Some people will recommend “Showtime” about the Magic Johnson Los Angeles Lakers. Excellence, but the Shaq-Kobe-Phil Jackson – and the dynamic between the three makes for a book that is worth your time.

The book drives into the details of Bryant and his charges in Colorado. Plus all the elements of a winning team and their moments of success and failure, All that adds to 300 pages of interest. It is a great read for any NBA fan.

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