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How many you done? Here are the 10 best sports autobiographies ever written

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Best sports autobiographies

Maybe you’ve read them all, or maybe you’re planning your next read. Well perhaps this will inspire you; here are our top 10 picks for best sports autobiographies.

You can’t beat a good old sports biography.

These sports books allow us to learn more about the fascinating lives of the athletes we follow, particularly the journey they took to reach the top of their profession. From heart-pounding triumphs to the struggles behind the scenes, these pages offer a front-row seat to the games and the glories. Here are 10 top sports autobiographies we recommend you read.

The 10 best sports autobiographies ever written

Compiling this list was not easy, as thousands of these types of sports books have been written over the years.

However, when determining the top ten, we took several factors into consideration, including the subject matter, the critical acclaim the book received, the volume of sales, the popularity of the sport and how well it was received by the general public.

michael jordan
Best sports autobiographies ever written

10. Clough: The Autobiography, by Brian Clough

Clough: The Autobiography provides a riveting insight into the life of Brian Clough, a football icon whose impact transcends the sport. With a candid and often humorous narrative that defines the man, Clough takes readers through his remarkable journey in football management.

From his early days as a player to his legendary successes at Derby County and Nottingham Forest, Clough’s storytelling captures the essence of his innovative tactics and charismatic leadership. This autobiography offers an insightful look into the mind of a maverick manager whose legacy continues to influence the beautiful game almost 20 years after his death.

Released: 1994

Amazon Book Link

9. It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, by Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong was considered the greatest endurance athlete in the world when he won the Tour de France a record seven times in a row from 1999 to 2005. However, he later was stripped of those titles after admitting that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win those titles over his career.

Twelve years before this admission, the launch of his autobiography met critical acclaim as a powerful memoir that goes beyond cycling to explore the human spirit’s resilience. Armstrong’s candid account of his battle with cancer and subsequent comeback to the sport is inspiring and moving.

The book offers a raw and unfiltered look at his physical and emotional struggles, making it a compelling read for anyone facing adversity.

Released: 22 May 2000

Amazon Book Link

Best Sports Autobiographies, lance armstrong
Best sports autobiographies

8. Addicted, by Tony Adams

In his book Addicted, Tony released a raw and gripping memoir that courageously navigates the complexities of addiction and redemption.

Adams, a football legend with Arsenal and England, lays bare his battles with alcoholism, giving readers an intimate look at his struggles when playing for club and country and ultimate triumph over adversity. His candid storytelling offers insight into the dark corners of fame and the path to recovery.

Away from the pitch, Adams’ journey is a testament to human resilience and the power of self-discovery. Subsequently, his book is seen by many as a beacon of hope for those grappling with their demons.

Released: 16 August 1999

Amazon Book Link

7. For the Love of the Game: My Story, by Michael Jordan

This book by fans favourite Michael Jordan is an inspiring and captivating memoir that delves into the legendary basketball player’s life on and off the court.

With eloquent prose, MJ shares his personal journey, triumphs and challenges, giving readers a deep insight into the dedication and passion that drove him to become a global icon.

The book’s candid storytelling and valuable life lessons make it a must-read for sports lovers and anyone seeking motivation to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness. Michael Jordan’s indomitable spirit shines through in this compelling narrative, including fascinating insights and never-before-told stories about his extraordinary journey to the Hall of Fame and general greatness in his sport.

Released: 27 October 1998

Amazon Book Link

Best sports autobiographies
Best sports autobiographies

6. The Mamba Mentality, by Kobe Bryant

Penned by the late basketball superstar Kobe Bryant who tragically died in a helicopter crash, this book is a fascinating read that offers a unique glimpse into the mind of a true legend.

With vivid anecdotes and insightful reflections, The Black Mamba showcases his unwavering commitment to hard work and his unrelenting drive to achieve greatness extends beyond sports. This inspiring book encourages readers to embrace challenges, push their limits, and pursue their dreams with unwavering determination.

Even if you are not fans of basketball, this is one of the best sports books to read for anyone looking to unlock their full potential and achieve winning in their own life.

Released: 23 October 2018

Amazon Book Link

Kobe Bryant, NBA 2K covers
One of the best: Kobe Bryant | Best sports autobiographies

5. Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography, by Mike Tyson

At an age of just 20 years and four months old, ‘Iron Mike’ Tyson became the youngest champion in heavyweight boxing history. By 1992, at 25 years of age, he was sentenced to six years in jail for rape, serving just over half of that time.

In Undisputed Truth: My Autobiography, Tyson bares his tumultuous story with unflinching honesty in his own words. From his early brushes with crime to his meteoric rise in the boxing world, Tyson’s narrative is raw and captivating. 

His journey from a troubled child to being one of the greatest boxers ever is a testament to his immense talent and unyielding determination. The book also sheds light on his personal struggles including being on the brink of financial ruin, offering a comprehensive view of the man behind the ferocious fighter. Overall, Tyson’s account is a powerful reflection on fame, a plight for redemption, and the complexities of living in the spotlight.

Released: 19 May 2014

Amazon Book Link

4. My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson

My Autobiography by Sir Alex Ferguson offers an unparalleled glimpse into the mind of one of football’s most iconic figures.

With candid introspection, Ferguson recounts his legendary managerial career, which included winning two UEFA Champions League titles, 13 Premier League titles with Manchester United, and five FA Cups.

From the highs of his successes to the challenges he faced, his storytelling gives insights into his strategies, rivalries and the pivotal moments in professional football that shaped his legacy. Beyond the beautiful game, the book also reveals the grit, leadership and indomitable spirit that defined Ferguson’s status as one of the game’s greatest-ever managers.

Released: 28 October 2014

Amazon Book Link

Best sports autobiographies
Best sports autobiographies

3. A Clear Blue Sky by Jonny Bairstow

‘A Clear Blue Sky’ by Jonny Bairstow is a compelling and deeply personal account of his life on and off the cricket pitch. With candid emotion, Bairstow unveils his triumphs and tribulations, providing an intimate look into his life and career.

The moving story paints a vivid picture of his journey, from the highs of cricketing success to the tragic death by suicide of his late father. Bairstow’s resilience and vulnerability shine through, making this memoir a poignant exploration of the intersection between sports and life’s challenges.

His harrowing and touching story resonates beyond his international career in cricket, offering lessons in determination and the human spirit’s capacity to endure.

Released: 4 June 2018

Amazon Book Link

2. Open: My Autobiography By Andre Agassi

Through this booktennis legend Andre Agassi vividly recounts his extraordinary success on and off the court. 

With unvarnished candour, Agassi chronicles his journey from when it began as a prodigious young talent burdened by expectations to a Grand Slam champion. His account of battling inner demons, the influence of his family, his marriage to Brooke Shields, his complex relationship with tennis, and subsequent self-discovery are inspiring and introspective.

Agassi’s prose is a powerful reminder that authenticity and the course of personal growth are journeys worth sharing, even for elite tennis players.

Released: 1st September 2010

Amazon Book Link

Best sports autobiographies
Best sports autobiographies

1. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

The Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography, this book by William Finnegan is a mesmerising memoir that immerses readers in the world of waves and wanderlust.

Finnegan’s evocative prose navigates the shores of his lifelong passion for surfing, taking us on a remarkable journey through diverse cultures and personal transformations.

The book transcends the sport, becoming a meditative exploration of life’s ebb and flow. With vivid descriptions and candid reflections, Finnegan crafts a captivating narrative that captures the thrill of the ride and the profound connections between man, the ocean and the ever-changing horizon.

Released: 21 July 2015

Amazon Book Link

So there you have it, our list of the best sports autobiography titles ever written. We hope these choices have inspired you to pick one of them up. Or even encourage you to begin writing one of your own.

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