There’s nothing like the thrill of watching a live sporting event, unless it is to read about great moments in sport history.
Fortunately, many athletes are as equally at home behind the typewriter as they are on the playing field. Here are five best-selling sport autobiographies.
Dick Francis is best known as a writer of mysteries and thrillers set in the high-stakes world of thoroughbred racing. Francis had first-hand knowledge for his books because he used to be a champion steeplechase jockey.
He even rode horses for the Queen Mother.
This lively 1957 autobiography chronicles Francis’ riding career and decision to start writing. Demand for this book has been so great that it has been republished several times.
Tennis champion and commentator John McEnroe was more famous for his on-court meltdowns than for his athleticism.
The title comes from his infamous rant at a Wimbledon official, “You cannot be serious!” This 2002 autobiography begins on the morning of September 11, 2001 and goes on McEnroe’s roller-coaster life on and off the court.
Perhaps the most startling revelations is that tennis was not the sport closest to McEnroe’s heart. That belongs to basketball.
This 1976 autobiography of Rhodes scholar, professional basketball player and New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley chronicles three whirlwind weeks in the season of the New York Knicks. Sports Illustrated would vote this autobiography as the 38th best book on sports ever written.
A special twentieth-anniversary edition may be the easiest edition for the modern sports fan to get a hold of.
Has there ever been anyone more famous around the world than boxing heavyweight champion and Vietnam War conscientious objector Muhammad Ali, whose real name was Cassius Clay?
This 1975 autobiography sold so well that a film of the book was released in 1977.
Ali was so popular in the seventies that he starred in a children’s cartoon series. The book is all the more poignant now that Ali, crippled by Parkinson’s disease, can no longer speak for himself.
Although Howard Cosell was no athlete, he did have a unique perspective on many of sports’ greatest moments as the celebrated commentator for ABC.
Cosell’s interviews with Muhammad Ali became required viewing for everyone in the 1970s, even if they were not a fan of boxing.
Cosell was king of sports commentators long before commentators had to be politically correct. That makes for a highly entertaining and sometimes searing look at professional sports in his 1973 autobiography.
Some great athletes not only were amazing on the playing field, but behind a writing desk. Reading these books will help you get a better perspective on all of your favorite moments in sports.