Topend Sports Logo

Crucial Sports Reads: Must-Have Books for Any Sports Enthusiast

It's commonly acknowledged that sports naturally weave compelling narratives into our cultural fabric, with their share of protagonists and antagonists, moments of victory, and tinges of defeat. Even a game of football, with its peculiar acceptance of draws, which seemingly perplexes even characters like Ted Lasso, isn't without its climactic moments. Yet, the tales that unfold beyond the field, arena, or court are frequently charged with an equal, if not greater, intensity.

The written word possesses an unmatched ability to dissect and portray the psychological landscape that shapes a world-class athlete. The depth of insight that books offer, particularly when penned by masterful authors, is profound. Our top list includes the best sports business books, as well as inspiring books about famous athletes and sports development books. Choose what you like best.

sports books sports books

#1 The Match by Romesh Gunesekera

Sunny's story, centered on his passion for cricket originating from his childhood in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, takes a poignant turn as he faces a midlife crisis. Based in London, his worries about drifting apart from his son Mikey and quest to find himself amidst lost connections propel him towards a cricket match that could soothe his unrest. During the historic May 2002 test match at Lord's Cricket Ground, where Sri Lanka clashes with England, Sunny is engulfed by the exuberant atmosphere. Over 16 captivating pages, Gunesekera exquisitely captures the essence of the game with vivid descriptions—from spectators sipping beers as batters score, to the notable presence of Aravinda de Silva, to an overcast sky that mirrors Sunny's mood. It's here, within the echoes of cheers and the palpable energy, that Sunny unexpectedly reunites with old friends from Manila, bridging across the chasm of time.

#2 Ringmaster: Vince McMahon and the Unmaking of America by Abraham Riesman

The unparalleled chronicle of Vince McMahon's journey, once the WWE's revered chairman and CEO, maps his ascent from humble beginnings to wielding control over an iconic global media dynasty. This account is enriched with fresh research and over 150 unique interviews with associates, confidants, and those who bore the brunt of his climb to the top.

How are you going to read any of the books on the list? The right choice is through FictionMe. This is a story reading app with a large selection of books on any topic. What sets FictionMe apart is its direct interaction with authors and its many hidden gems. If you're looking for a good novel app, then you know where to find it.

#3 Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

William Finnegan's autobiography, awarded the coveted Pulitzer Prize, chronicles his intense passion for surfing—a journey that begins along the sun-kissed Californian shores of his youth, extends through the tropical waves of Hawaii during his teenage years, and unexpectedly carries on to the less celebrated surf breaks of New York in his adulthood. "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life" transcends being a mere ode to the sport; it's an intense look at how surfing can feel like an exercise in futility or a grueling trial yet simultaneously provide an indescribable sense of liberty and bliss. Finnegan captures this dichotomy with exceptional vividness, paralleling it with his own eclectic life story.

From aimless days spent as a young stoner chasing waves, Finnegan evolved into a distinguished political correspondent, earning acclaim for his incisive coverage in The New Yorker—most notably his impactful dispatches from South Africa during its tumultuous Apartheid years. His work provides a rare window into the transformation of personal passion into profound professional achievement.

#4 The Cactus League by Emily Nemens

The debut work from the prior editor of The Paris Review transplants readers to the sunbaked expanse of Arizona. Here, the narrative unfolds, presenting the Los Angeles Lions, a baseball team fictitiously hailed from LA, deep in the throes of spring training. Marketed as a novel, this literary piece cleverly masquerades as a suite of nine interconnected tales. These stories converge through a central voice that peels back the curtain on the intimate dynamics of the team—players, coaches, and the fervent fanbase—as they gear up for the forthcoming season.

#5 Messi Vs. Ronaldo by Jonathan Clegg and Joshua Robinson

Have you ever pondered why Messi vs Ronaldo holds the title of football's most cherished rivalry? What ignited the fierce admiration and competition between these two iconic athletes? Cast your minds back to 2009 when Real Madrid broke the bank with an £80m transfer deal for the football phenom, all in pursuit of Catalonian glory. This move set the stage for an unparalleled face-off on the pitch. Dive into an insider's perspective as author Luca Caioli uncovers the hidden depths of this epic head-to-head from those who know Messi and Ronaldo best.

Messi v RonaldoMessi v Ronaldo

#6 Land of Second Chances by Tim Lewis

In the gripping narrative that won the British Sports Book Award, journalist Neil Lewis Jr. takes us on an extraordinary journey following a group of American ex-professional cyclists' ambitions to establish a cycling team in Rwanda, just ten years post the country's horrific genocide. The 1994 atrocity claimed the lives of 1 million individuals, leaving an indelible mark on Rwanda’s history.

Lewis, known for his stellar contributions to Esquire, delves deep into this heart-wrenching yet inspirational saga. Among the cycling hopefuls is the remarkable Adrien Niyonshuti, a man who faced unimaginable loss when he endured the tragedy of losing six brothers during the genocide. His resilience and dedication to the sport offer a beacon of hope and redemption amidst the shadows of a painful past.

#7 Playing It My Way by Boria Majumdar and Sachin Tendulkar

Whether you're a devoted cricket enthusiast or simply appreciate the stories of eminent athletes, reading Sachin Tendulkar's autobiography is an exceptional choice. His reputation as a legendary cricketer often precedes him, cementing his status not only in cricket but also as one of India's premier sports figures. Sachin himself has said, “No autobiography can capture every single moment of the author’s life,” yet his memoir offers an intimate glimpse into his life, the highs and lows of his career, and the driving forces that propelled him through his illustrious journey.


As you can see, frequent are the instances within the realms of literature where athletic excellence comes alive - from nail-biting soccer goals and awe-inspiring tennis returns to the resounding crash of bowling pins and last-second basketball wins. These moments might simply be a backdrop to the daily existence of the characters. However, they are just as likely to offer a deeper glimpse — a portal into the core of a story's main character.

Related Pages

send us a comment Any comments, suggestions, or corrections? Please let us know.

 → How to Cite