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Your Book Match: Sports

Welcome to our sports reads recommendations! Below you'll find a gallery of books we have in our collection that we think you will like! Click the arrows to scroll through the titles and click on one you'd like to learn more about to see its catalog entry. If we have an eBook or eAudiobook version of the title in our collection, there will be a link to it at the bottom of the book's description.

Mamba Mentality

In the wake of his retirement from professional basketball, Kobe "The Black Mamba" Bryant has decided to share his vast knowledge and understanding of the game to take readers on an unprecedented journey to the core of the legendary "Mamba mentality." Citing an obligation and an opportunity to teach young players, hardcore fans, and devoted students of the game how to play it "the right way," The Mamba Mentality takes us inside the mind of one of the most intelligent, analytical, and creative basketball players ever.For the first time, and in his own words, Bryant reveals his famously detailed approach and the steps he took to prepare mentally and physically to not just succeed at the game, but to excel. Readers will learn how Bryant studied an opponent, how he channeled his passion for the game, how he played through injuries. They'll also get fascinating granular detail as he breaks down specific plays and match-ups from throughout his career.Bryant's detailed accounts are paired with stunning photographs by the Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein. Bernstein, long the Lakers and NBA official photographer, captured Bryant's very first NBA photo in 1996 and his last in 2016-and hundreds of thousands in between, the record of a unique, twenty-year relationship between one athlete and one photographer.The combination of Bryant's narrative and Bernstein's photos make The Mamba Mentality an unprecedented look behind the curtain at the career of one of the world's most celebrated and fascinating athletes.

We also have an eBook version of this title available on Libby. Click here to check it out!

The League: How Five Rivals Created the NFL and Launched a Sports Empire

The epic tale of the five owners who shepherded the NFL through its tumultuous early decades and built the most popular sport in America.

The National Football League is a towering, distinctly American colossus spewing out $14 billion in annual revenue. But it was not always a success. In The League, John Eisenberg focuses on the pioneering sportsmen who kept the league alive in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, when its challenges were many and its survival was not guaranteed. At the time, college football, baseball, boxing, and horseracing dominated America's sports scene. Art Rooney, George Halas, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, and Bert Bell believed in pro football when few others did and ultimately succeeded only because at critical junctures each sacrificed the short-term success of his team for the longer-term good of the league.

At once a history of a sport and a remarkable story of business ingenuity, The League is an essential read for any fan of our true national pastime.

Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-ifs in Sports History

In his first book, Pesca, host of The Gist podcast, collects lively and informative essays on possible alternatives to some of the most notable moments in sports history. The entries come from sports columnists, historians, documentarians, and fans, and "propose hypotheticals that sparked the imagination, that opened the door to a hidden history or set off a plausible chain reaction we might not have even considered." Highlights include Shira Springer's "What If the United States Had Boycotted Hitler's Olympics?" in which she presents a convincing case that a boycott would have been better for the 1936 Olympics, immediately setting the sporting event on "a more progressive" course. In "What If Muhammad Ali Had Gotten His Draft Deferment?" Leigh Montville convincingly argues that Ali's time away from boxing in 1966 "was the most important time of all"-that without his image of "challenging authority," Ali's career would have been "perfunctory, simply about boxing." In one of the best essays, "What If Nat 'Sweetwater' Clifton's Pass Hadn't Gone Awry?" Claude Johnson takes a look at racism in the early days of professional basketball with Nat Clifton playing in 1948 on the New York Rens, an all-black pro basketball team (Clifton's errant pass caused the Rens to lose the game, and perhaps a franchise spot on the newly formed NBA). Enlightening and entertaining, Pesca's collection of hypothetical sports outcomes gives sports fans much food for thought. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Reynolds (As Brave As You) uses a light hand to delve into topics that include gun violence, class disparity, and bullying in this compelling series opener. Seventh-grader Castle Cranshaw, nicknamed Ghost, knows nothing about track when a former Olympian recruits him as a sprinter for one of the city's youth teams. As far as Ghost is concerned, "whoever invented track got the whole gun means go thing right," something he learned firsthand when his father tried to shoot Ghost and his mother in their apartment three years prior. The trauma has had ripple effects on Ghost, including angry outbursts ("I was the boy.... with all the scream inside"), altercations at school, stealing, and lying. Joining the track team provides new friends, goals, and an opportunity for Ghost to move beyond his past. Ghost is a well-meaning, personable narrator whose intense struggles are balanced by a love of world records, sunflower seeds, and his mother. Coach's relationship with Ghost develops into a surrogate father-son scenario, adding substantial emotional resonance and humor to the mix. Ages 10-up. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Before Jackie Robinson: The Transcendent Role of Black Sporting Pioneers

While the accomplishments and influence of Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, and Muhammad Ali are doubtless impressive solely on their merits, these luminaries of the Black sporting experience did not emerge spontaneously. Their rise was part of a gradual evolution in social and power relations in American culture between the 1890s and 1940s that included athletes such as jockey Isaac Murphy, barnstorming pilot Bessie Coleman, and golfer Teddy Rhodes. The contributions of these early athletes to our broader collective history, and their heroic confrontations with the entrenched racism of their times, helped bring about the incremental changes that after 1945 allowed for sports to be more fully integrated.

Before Jackie Robinson details and analyzes the lives of these lesser-known but important athletes within the broader history of Black liberation. These figures not only excelled in their given sports but also transcended class and racial divides in making inroads into popular culture despite the societal restrictions placed on them. They were also among the first athletes to blur the line between athletics, entertainment, and celebrity culture. This volume presents a more nuanced account of early Black American athletes' lives and their ongoing struggle for acceptance, relevance, and personal and group identity. 

Dragon Hoops

In his latest graphic novel, Gene Luen Yang turns the spotlight on his life, his family, and the high school where he teaches.Gene doesn't get sports. But at Bishop O'Dowd High School, it's all anyone can talk about. The men's varsity basketball team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that's been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships.Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he's seen on a comic book page. What he doesn't know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons' lives, but his own life as well.

We also have an eBook version of this title available on Libby. Click here to check it out!