Without Live Sports, These Are Sports-Related Books We Are Reading
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Just like you, the KSLSports.com team has been without live sports for a few weeks.
Typically at this time of year, we’d be busy covering games like the NBA and the NCAA Tournament.
While in quarantine, we’re still doing our best to provide you the best sports coverage possible. During our time off the clock, we’ve been able to dive into our favorite books about sports.
KSLSports.com Reading List
With no live sports, what sports-related books have you read?
Sam Farnsworth – SportsBeat
Seasons In Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and the Worst Baseball Team in History. – The 1973-75 Texas Rangers by Mike Shropshire
Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against The Bowl Championship Series by Dan Wetzel, Jeff Passan, Josh Peter
It’s a book that was written by Yahoo! Sports writers and is still pretty relevant today. It gives you an idea of how corrupt the overall bowl system is and why there isn’t a stronger push for a playoff (expanded playoff).
Bleachers by John Grisham.
It’s an easy, quick read but a fun story about a small town where high school football reigns supreme and where there is no lack of drama.
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham.
Pretty good story about a quarterback who struggled to keep a career in the NFL and went on to play for a pro team in Italy.
And They Came To Pass by Lee Benson.
The former Deseret News sports writer wrote this book about the pass-happy years of BYU football from the mid-’70s through the ’80s. Its an old book but still a good read if you’re a BYU football fan.
Alex Kirry – KSL Unrivaled
Touching the Void
Insane story of survival in the Peruvian Andes by the guy who survived it, Joe Simpson. I’m no climber, but humans can do amazing things and this book is exhibit A.
Hand of God: The Story of Diego Maradona by Jimmy Burns
I have a soft place in my heart for Diego Armando Maradona, one of the best footballers of all time. I read this book after coming back from a couple of years in Argentina and his story of beyond poor upbringing, to an icon of soccer, drug-addicted wild man and polarizing hero to many is intriguing and sad.
Mitch Harper – Cougar Tracks Podcast
Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series
Published back in 2010, this book was the face of getting people in the college football world to picture a Playoff. The four-team Playoff isn’t perfect as it is run by the same people who led the BCS, but it’s better to have four instead of two, right?
Meat Market: Inside the Smash Mouth World of College Football Recruiting
I personally love recruiting and this book by Bruce Feldman takes a deep dive into that world. It’s interesting to look back on it now as Feldman follows Ed Orgeron when he was the head coach at Ole Miss. Back then, people thought Orgeron was cut out to be a head coach, now he’s one of the best coaches in the land. What it takes to land a signature from a recruit in college football is always fascinating to me. This book takes you behind the curtain on that.
Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant
The late, great Kobe Bryant was not always perfect and this book captures everything from his days living in Italy as a child to his five titles with the Lakers.
Trevor Allen – Crimson Corner Podcast
Driven: An Autobiography
I like it because it gives the entire backstory on how Larry H. Miller bought the Jazz. He talked about how much he loved Utah and why he wanted the team to always be in the state.
Zak Hicken – SportsBeat Afterhours Podcast
Here are a few of my favorites.
Friday Night Lights
One of my favorite sports movies, ever. Probably the best football sports movie, ever. And it’s probably the best book about football, ever. But it’s about so much more. Racism, poverty, the education system, success, failure. Following the Permian-Odessa Panthers 1988 season was thrilling, but at the same time seeing what happened off the field was heartbreaking and opened my eyes to what kids in a small town from Texas were dealing with when it came to their status as local celebrities.
Book of Basketball
This book is massive. 700+ pages about the history of the NBA and ABA through 2010. I love the detailed breakdowns of all-time greats from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s and where they would have stacked up in the modern game. It’s also a really unique read in 2020 with the way the game has changed over the last decade and especially over the last 5-6 years. It has a companion podcast that was released this year that is also a really enjoyable listen.
What are sports without the most iconic sports brand, NIKE? Shoe Dog is the memoir of NIKE CEO Phil Knight. The successes, failures, and grind that he had to face in establishing his company. This is a quicker read, I think it only took me two days to knock it out, but I loved reading about the risks Knight took to grow his company into what it is today.
Basketball (and Other Things)
One of my favorite books from one of my favorite writers. Shea Serrano will make you laugh, make you think, and make you cry. I love the way Shea takes pop culture and applies it to sports. I’ve read, re-read, and re-re-read Basketball (and Other Things) many, many times.
The movie is my favorite sports movie of all-time. The book is just as good. I’m a huge stats geek and breaking down sabermetrics and the introduction of them as a mainstream model into Major League Baseball is so much fun. Following the Oakland A’s 2002 underdog season was a ton of fun. It’s been a few years since I’ve read Moneyball, but Michael Lewis is a great author and this may be his best work.
Boys Among Men
This book covers a very small window of NBA history that has changed the way we view NBA prospects. Boys Among Men covers the generation of High School to Pro basketball players. Those who lived up to the hype (KG, Kobe, LeBron) and those who came up short of expectations (Kwame Brown, Jonathan Bender). It’s pretty crazy to see how these kids handled the immediate influx of cash, especially those who lived most of their lives in poverty. I definitely recommend if you’re a big hoops fan.
One of my favorite books about college football. This talks about the glory and scandal of college football. It covers 6-7 programs/individuals with everything from boosters to recruiting. It also includes chapters with local ties to BYU, Bronco Mendenhall and reshaping the BYU football program, Kyle Van Noy and the trials he faced after signing with the Cougars, as well as Mike Leach and the controversy that he faced at Washington State.
Matt Baiamonte – Cougar Sports Saturday
Incredible look behind the curtain of college football. It was fascinating to learn about the difficult aspects of the game and the money behind the sport. Great read!
Madisan Hinkhouse – KSLSports.com Executive Producer
My favorite sports book is Harry Potter and before you tell me it doesn’t count remember – Quidditch.
Quidditch is an epic sport. Who wouldn’t want to attend a quidditch match with the Weasley’s?
Kyle Ireland – Digital Sports Producer
The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
The subtitle of this book says it all. “The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football.”
I love college football. I think it’s one of the most fascinating sports we have today. I found Benedict’s book very informative and insightful into how college football became what we know it as today. The stories were engaging and entertaining. If you love college football too, this book is well worth the read.
LaVell Edwards: Building a Winning Football Tradition at Brigham Young University by LaVell Edwards
The former BYU head coach is one of the greatest to ever stand on the sidelines not just in the state of Utah but in all of college football. First published in 1980, Edwards’ book was written before he’d even won the 1984 National Championship. If you are a BYU fan, you’ll love reading about how Coach Edwards turned the Cougs into a winning-tradition. If you are a college football fan, you’ll also enjoy reading about one of the game’s greatest coaches.
Stockton to Malone: The Rise of the Utah Jazz by Roland Lazenby
I’ve loved this book ever since I was a kid. I grew up watching and hearing “Hot” Rod Hundley call so many “Stockton-to-Malone” plays just like many of you reading this. This book goes into how John Stockton, Karl Malone, and Jerry Sloan built the Jazz up through hard work and competitiveness. #TakeNote and give this one a read.
Jeremy Mauss – KSL Unrivaled Producer
I don’t really read a ton of books but one I absolutely love is Fantasy Life by Matthew Berry.
It is about fantasy sports but not just the history of it. Instead, it includes wild stories from leagues with trophies, punishments, weird playing styles, and a lot of personal experiences playing fantasy sports. That is what makes it a fun book to read.
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