For the sportsman on your Christmas list! A fine selection of reads they sure would enjoy.
99: Stories of the Games by by
From minor-hockey phenomenon to Hall of Fame sensation, Wayne Gretzky rewrote the record books, his accomplishments becoming the stuff of legend. Dubbed “The Great One,” he is considered by many to be the greatest hockey player who ever lived. No one has seen more of the game than he has—but he has never discussed in depth just what it was he saw.
For the first time, Gretzky discusses candidly what the game looks like to him and introduces us to the people who inspired and motivated him: mentors, teammates, rivals, the famous and the lesser known.
Warm, direct, and revelatory, it is a book that gives us number 99, the man and the player, like never before.
Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football, and an American Town by
Ever heard of Aliquippa, PA? In the early twentieth century Aliquippa was a beacon and a melting pot, pulling in thousands of families from Europe and the Jim Crow south. The J&L mill, though dirty and dangerous, offered a chance at a better life. It produced the steel that built American cities and won World War II and even became something of a workers’ paradise. But then, in the 1980’s, the steel industry cratered. The mill closed. Crime rose and crack hit big.
But another industry grew in Aliquippa. The town didn’t just make steel; it made elite football players, from Mike Ditka to Ty Law to Darrelle Revis. Pro football was born in Western Pennsylvania, and few places churned out talent like Aliquippa. Despite its troubles—maybe even because of them—Aliquippa became legendary for producing football greatness.
Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA by
“How can the NCAA blithely wreck careers without regard to due process or common fairness? How can it act so ruthlessly to enforce rules that are so petty? Why won’t anybody stand up to these outrageous violations of American values and American justice?”
Since Joe Nocera asked those questions in a controversial New York Times column, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has come under fire. Fans have begun to realize that the athletes involved in the two biggest college sports, men’s basketball and football, are little more than indentured servants. Millions of teenagers accept scholarships to chase their dreams of fame and fortune—at the price of absolute submission to the whims of an organization that puts their interests dead last.
For about 5 percent of top-division players, college ends with a golden ticket to the NFL or the NBA. But what about the overwhelming majority who never turn pro? They don’t earn a dime from the estimated $13 billion generated annually by college sports—an ocean of cash that enriches schools, conferences, coaches, TV networks, and apparel companies . . . everyone except those who give their blood and sweat to entertain the fans. Indentured tells the dramatic story of a loose-knit group of rebels who decided to fight the hypocrisy of the NCAA.
Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant by
Tom Brady, Jerry West, Michael Jordan are only a few Roland Lazenby has portrayed in exceptionally good biographies. Now it’s Kobe Bryant turn and Lazenby confirm himself as the finest sports biographer .
Eighteen-time all-star; scorer of 81 points in a game; MVP and a shooting guard second only to Jordan in league history: Kobe Bryant is one of basketball’s absolute greatest players, a fascinating and complicated character who knew when he was a mere boy that he would be better than Jordan on the court.
The debate about whether he achieved that is a furious one–but Kobe has surpassed Jordan on the all-time scoring list and has only one less championship than Jordan (5 to Jordan’s 6). He is set to retire after the 2015/16 season, just in time for Roland Lazenby’s definitive biography of the player and the man.
The Lakers are the flashiest team in all of sports, and the context in which Bryant played is salacious and exciting. Provocative stories mixed with good old fashioned basketball reporting make for a riveting and essential read for any hoops fan.
The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers by
From an award-winning journalist comes the riveting odyssey of seven Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1960s—a chronicle of a team, a game, and a nation in transition during one of the most exciting and unsettled decades in history.
Legendary Dodgers Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Wes Parker, Jeff Torborg, Dick Tracewski, Lou Johnson and Tommy Davis encapsulated 1960s America: white and black, Jewish and Christian, wealthy and working class, pro-Vietnam and anti-war, golden boy and seasoned veteran. The Last Innocents is a thoughtful, technicolor portrait of these seven players—friends, mentors, confidants, rivals, and allies—and their storied team that offers an intriguing look at a sport and a nation in transition. Bringing into focus the high drama of their World Series appearances from 1962 to 1972 and their pivotal games, Michael Leahy explores these men’s interpersonal relationships and illuminates the triumphs, agonies, and challenges each faced individually.
Big Papi: The Legend and Legacy of David Ortiz by
This is the best Christmas gift for Red Sox fans; David “Big Papi” Ortiz‘ unforgettable career is chronicled in this must-have book from the Boston Globe.
With more than 500 career home runs, an infectious personality, and three World Series championships, David Ortiz has established his position as the greatest Red Sox player of this generation. But Ortiz’ story did not start with postseason heroics and towering blasts into the Fenway Park bleachers. Ortiz struggled to find his power stroke in parts of six seasons with the Minnesota Twins, who released him after the 2002 season. Then Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein signed Ortiz in 2003 and the 27 year old soon became known as Big Papi, setting career highs with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs. The next season, the Red Sox won the franchise’s first World Series championship in 86 years.