Best sports books chosen by critics

We list the best sports books recommended by critics from Washington Post, NPR, New York Times and many more. All critics' recommendations are referenced with customer reviews. The rating you see is an aggregate from several platforms and is always higher than 4 out of 5 stars.

4.6 Ali A Life

Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig

Washington Post

“Eig’s comprehensive biography reflects the charm and the rage, the grace and the greed, the pride and the ego of Muhammad Ali.”

Featured in Washington Post’s 50 Notable Non-Fiction Books of 2017.

$20
4.1 Working Class Heroes

Working Class Heroes: The Story of Rayo Vallecano, Madrid’s Forgotten Team

The Guardian

“Dunne captures the singularity of the determinedly local, blue-collar, radical Madrid club Rayo Vallecano, providing a view of Spanish football beyond the slavish preoccupation of most media with Real Madrid and Barcelona.”

Featured in The Guardian’s Best Sports Books of 2017.

$14
4.3 Greatest Comeback Bela Guttmann

The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory: the Story of Bela Guttmann

The Guardian

“Bolchover located Bela Guttman, arguably football’s first celebrity coach, amid the cultural and sporting traditions of central European Jews and unravelled the mystery of how he survived the Holocaust.”

Featured in The Guardian’s Best Sports Books of 2017.

$21
4.4 The Streak

The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken Jr., and Baseball’s Most Historic Record

Sports Illustrated

“This is a very good book. Gehrig played in 2,130 straight games. Fifty-six years after it ended, Ripken Jr. topped that number and then some, adding 502 games to his streak before he finally missed one.”

Featured in Sports Illustrated Best Sports Books of 2017.

$14
4.8 Coach Wooden And Me

Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

LA Times

“Abdul-Jabbar recounts his lifelong friendship with UCLA coach John Wooden, and the ways he learned only later that Wooden guided and tried to protect him as he broke through racial barriers.”

Featured in LA Times’ Best Non-Fiction Books of 2017.

$20
4.9 Game Change Ken Dryden

Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey

Sports Illustrated

“Montador died three years after his last game, at 35. It prompted Dryden, who has several other books to his credit, to take a look at why and how this happened.”

Featured in Sports Illustrated Best Sports Books of 2017.

$18