DAR Books: 5 Important Sports Biographies

By @TrueGodImmortal

There are a number of athletes in the sports world that have compelling stories. The most successful athletes and even some of the failures in the sports world call attention to themselves based on the narrative around most of them. With that being the case, there is always a necessity by fans to read more and learn more about their favorite athletes. Whether it is their upbringing, their journey, their determination, the story is always interesting for the general public. Enter biographies/ autobiographies. These stories give the reader a glimpse into the mindset and life of the athlete, and today that's what we are going to discuss. Let's take a look at 5 important sports biographies and what made them so special.

*Muhammad Ali- The Greatest: My Own Story (1975)

-Written by Richard Durham with the help of Ali (and edited by legendary novelist Toni Morrison), this book was released at the height of his popularity and made Ali even more of an icon (though it did come with some criticism). The book touches on everything from his prison time for standing up for what he felt was right and being an anti-war advocate. However, this book is more important for the controversy that surrounded the release and the fact that many felt Ali didn't have a lot of input because he was simply not interested. While that hasn't been clarified, the book is a gripping read from start to finish, though it might not be the best book on Ali. Herbert Muhammad had a huge effect on what we would end up reading apparently, but still, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what makes Ali the legend we came to love and know (even if some elements were altered).

*Jackie Robinson- I Never Had It Made (1972)

-Originally published the same year that Jackie passed away and told to Alfred Duckett, this was more so a memoir full of Jackie's work to help his people and his quest for justice for all. While I was never the biggest fan of Jackie Robinson for his staunch commitment to this country and how Americanized he was in a sense, I did find this book to be more of a window into his ideology and a book that I definitely enjoyed regardless. Here, he details his experiences at UCLA, the Negro League, and of course in the major leagues as he broke barriers. The book eventually gets into his complicated friendships with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, along with some heart wrenching moments as well, including losing his son and the circumstances surrounding it. This is essentially a stripped down look at the life and times of one of the most important athletes of all time.

*Serena Williams- On The Line (2009)

-This book was probably written far too soon, which is more so a testament to how well Serena has done since the release of this. She was on top of the world at the time that she told her story to Daniel Paisner, but it wasn't always Australian Open wins and Wimbledon championships for the Compton native. This book does take us into her journey from playing tennis on courts in Compton that were littered with broken glass and drug paraphernalia, all the way to her rise in the tennis world next to her sister Venus. Her struggles with losing a sister, frustrating injuries, and her outlook on what was to come are all poignant and honest, and make the book a rather compelling read. Serena is the greatest woman in tennis history and one of the greatest athletes ever, so this is a must read for any diehard sports fan. 

*Mike Tyson- The Undisputed Truth (2013)

-Any chance you could get to read about the story of Mike Tyson should be welcomed and somehow, this book arrived with interesting fanfare. It wasn't treated how it should have been because this was a book that many of us were dying to read years ago. The one man show that was titled the same was essentially the precursor to this book and this book didn't disappoint at all. Tyson seems like a man on search of redemption for a rough and wild life, and that shines through his recollections of life. He goes into his entire life and career and pulls no punches when discussing the matters that we wanted to read about. Has Tyson lived a tough life and had his share of struggles and battles? Absolutely. Is he a better man for it? Absolutely. If anything, the undisputed truth is that Mike Tyson is one of those success stories who fought against his own demons and has seemingly won.

*Michael Jordan- For The Love Of The Game: My Story (1998)

-Jordan is a true brand and he has released a few books that grabbed the attention of the world, but perhaps none had the impact or importance of For The Love Of The Game. This is a book that provides a window into the man himself and everything that he represents. From his illustrious college career to the first time he stepped onto a NBA court along with the motivation to win and overcome, this book peels back the image of MJ and shows you the man behind the image, the shoes, and the championships. It is an engaging read that only makes the reader gain more respect for Jordan, it also showcases why he is the man he is and why there is no one better in the history of basketball and likely will never anytime soon.



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