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8 Best Sports Biographies Black People Should Read


There’s a lot of content about athletes. From interviews, podcasts, reality television shows, and documentaries. While these give you a look into their lives, nothing can replace a well-written book through which you hear the voice of your favorite personality. 

With so many books to pick from, which are the best sports biographies you should add to your list? Check out our list.

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Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson

spotcovery-Althea Gibson holding a tennis racquet.
Althea Gibson holding a tennis racquet. Source: Wikimedia licensed by Public domain

Althea Gibson was one of the sport’s most defining athletes. She broke the color barrier in women’s tennis and was the first of many things. Born in South Carolina, Althea demonstrated her prowess in ping-pong, golf, and tennis. 

Although she wasn’t an activist like Arthur Ashe, her role in golf and tennis is undeniable. This book gives you a deep take into her life and career, painted in the context of what happened then. Buy the book on Amazon.

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Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig

spotcovery-Former Boxer Muhammad Ali.
Former Boxer Muhammad Ali. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-3.0

If you want to dig into the life of former professional boxer Muhammad Ali, this book by Jonathan Eig is a must-read. The book contains numerous interviews with the people who knew him. It looks into some of his biggest matches, his activism, and his personal life. 

The book won the Times Sports Biography of the Year and the 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. Get this book on Amazon.

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Eliud Kipchoge: History’s Fastest Marathoner

spotcovery-Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge.
Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-2.0

Do you want to understand what it took Eliud Kipchoge to attempt running a marathon in under two hours? This memoir gives you insight into this race in Italy, Monza. He might not have broken the two-hour barrier, but it opened the possibility of achieving what’s seen as the next great barrier in athletics. Get the book on Amazon.

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Faster than Lightning: My Autobiography

Usain Bolt’s Book Review of Faster Than Lightning. Video Credit: The Hub

Usain Bolt’s achievements remain some of the best in sport. His world record in the 100m still stands and no one has come close to breaking it. In his book Faster than Lightning: My Autobiography, the Jamaican shares his story of where he began to get to the top of his profession. 

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Lewis Hamilton: The Biography

spotcovery-Lewis Hamilton celebrates pole position, Malaysia GP 2017.
Lewis Hamilton celebrates pole position, Malaysia GP 2017. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-4.0

Lewis Hamilton is the best British driver ever. Away from his accomplishments on track, he’s been outspoken on various social issues. He’s a controversial figure from the races, where he equaled Michael Schumacher in his battles with former teammate Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen. Go deep into his racing life and personal life in one of the best sports biographies you’ll ever read. Find it on Amazon.

Undisrupted Truth by Mike Tyson

Adding to our list of the best sports biographies is Mike Tyson’s book. He courted controversy on and off the boxing ring. From his rape conviction, cocaine addiction, bankruptcy, and biting Evander Holifield’s ear, this book takes you into Tyson’s thoughts and worldview. Check it out on Amazon

The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant

A summary of Kobe Bryant’s book. Video Credit: Keynote Knowledge

This list wouldn’t be complete without including Kobe Bryant’s biography. He was one of the best basketball players in the game and used this book to share how he prepared and approached games. 

Fans and aspiring players can tap into the Mamba mentality through the pages of these books. Learn how to get through the most difficult moments, analyze opponents and become a world beater. This book is on Amazon.

Michael Jordan: The Life

Michael Jordan: The Life is one of the best sports biographies written. He was one of the best in basketball and his style of play lingered in the memory. Outside the courts, he was troubled with charges of sexual battery, which brought the dark side of his personality to the fore. If you want to understand MJ on and off the court, get the book on Amazon.

Have you read some of the best sports biographies? It’s an opportunity to get into the minds of the greatest athletes and around them. Understand their motives and passion and strive for excellence.  

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