While it may come as a surprise to many people, sports celebrities really do have relevant, real things to say that don’t revolve entirely around sports metaphors. Some of the more surprising entries on this list are a young football star who also authors children’s books, a motivational book by a disgraced world champion cyclist, and a sports memoir by one of the most celebrated novelists in America. All of these books are penned by people who are or were athletes. Some are funny, some painful, and some just outright strange. Here are the top seven books written by athletes!
1) Paper Lion
by George Plimpton
This riotous memoir of a literary type trying to make the third string for the Detroit Lions football team (I’m not even going to get into all the problems with that idea) is not a boy makes good story by any stretch of the imagination. What makes this book great is Plimpton’s candid and vivid description of life in the locker room, a place most fans will never get to see outside of television.
2) The TJ Series
By Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott has made a big name for himself in UK football as the youngest player ever to be signed to the notorious Arsenal team from the Saints. He quickly added being the youngest player, at only a couple of months after his seventeenth birthday, to be invited to the England national football team. Bringing his experience as a striker to a quartet of children’s books with lessons such as perseverance, physical fitness, and the power of friendship and teamwork, Walcott proves that athletic doesn’t mean unable to communicate.
3) It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life
By Lance Armstrong
When this book came out, readers and reviewers alike raved about the inspiring story of Armstrong’s fight against testicular cancer and his determination to win. However, the allegations of doping that have dogged Armstrong for a decade and a half finally exploded earlier this year, transforming an inspiring story into a punch line worthy of comedian Robin William’s sketch in “Live at the Met” supporting Armstrong and resulting in the stripping of numerous awards and accolades Armstrong had “earned.” It’s not about the bike, Lance? Truer words may never have been written.
4) Mary Lou Retton’s Gateways To Happiness
By Mary Lou Retton
In terms of sheer likability, impeccable personal conduct, and recognizability, Mary Lou Retton may well be the most popular female athlete ever to grace the planet, never mind the gym mat. Her transition from star athlete to wife, mother, and motivational speaker was capped off by gaining her author credentials. In Gateways To Happiness, Retton relies heavily but not entirely on athletic metaphors to discuss topics such as time management, adhering to a plan, and never giving up. This highly rated book is a must have not just for the content, but for the charmingly accessible way it’s written.
5) My Losing Season
By Pat Conroy
While the name may not mean much to you, odds are you and/or your wife have seen The Prince Of Tides, starring Barbara Streisand and Nick Nolte and based on Pat Conroy’s book of the same name. Conroy takes a trip back in time to The Citadel, one of the most respected military academies in America, for an inside look at cadet life both on and off the court. Featuring a clueless coach and the stiff upper lipped command staff and cadets themselves, this book is an unflinchingly honest look at a place most writers consider taboo to write about.
6) I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan On The Pursuit of Excellence
By Micheal Jordan
Having a list like this and not giving a nod to the Duke of Dunk would be like talking about chefs and omitting Wolfgang Puck or Gordon Ramsay. In this short but memorable book, Jordan dissects the rules he lives (and plays) by, including tips on how to beat self-doubt and conquer fear, the importance of focus, and how to both lead and follow. This book is a must-have for anyone who’d like to get their team motivated by a man who has built an empire on doing exactly that.
7) You Cannot Be Serious
By John McEnroe
To round out the list comes this offering from the undisputed Bad Boy of Tennis. (Pre-McEnroe, the world thought there was no such thing!) This brutal, candid, funny, and honest dissection of his racquet-hurling antics on the court and his erratic behavior in his personal life is by turns savage and charming, just like “Johnny Mac” himself. While it’s not exactly motivational reading, this book is still worth giving an afternoon or two, especially on a day when you just “pulled a McEnroe.”
Article provided by Lovereading.co.uk/