For many people, basketball is just about being a good athlete. Only few people know that basketball is a very demanding job and can involve a lot of stress and pressure.

The players are constantly under pressure to be fit, to perform well in field, to never disappoint their fans and to pay attention to their diet and lifestyle.

There are numerous people who know about basketball but there are few who know about the lifestyle of these players.

All the above mentioned books are thoughtful and capture the legendary performances by the players.

My Favorite Books Written by the Greatest Basketball Players

These books will give you a deep analysis of the lives of the players as well. The players talk about their hardships, their good and bad decisions, their leadership skills and also their beliefs.

Grab these emotional and passionate books to know about the game and the players.

What does it take to become an NBA Basketball Player?

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List of My Favorite Books Written by the Greatest Basketball Players

1. When The Game Was Ours

by Larry Bird, Earvin Magic Johnson, and Jackie MacMullan

When The Game Was Ours by Larry Bird, Earvin Magic Johnson, and Jackie MacMullan

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When The Game Was Ours by Larry Bird, Earvin Magic Johnson, and Jackie MacMullan This compelling and fascination book portrays two giants of a game during professional basketball’s best times. The book will definitely bring back the memories as it essentially covers 1979-2009. It is not from some outsiders view; rather it comes directly from the mouths of two greatest men who ever played the game. The book is not like any other sports book, it relatively discusses the bond between Bird and Magic. Their bond is real and genuine which makes the book attractive. If you remember the NCAA Championship between the two of them, then you will absolutely enjoy this book.

This book is a trip down the memory lane of the two authors. It tells us how the two of them first became bitter rivals and then close friends. Bringing out the historical aspects with some additional insight is the speciality of the book. The book beautifully captures the legendary performance of the two and also the deep respect they have for each other. In short, this is a great book for all the lovers of basketball fans.

Important Features-

  • Covers basketball match memories from 1979-2009.
  • Discusses the bond between two players.
  • A book which captures legendary performances. Read More

2. Becoming Kareem

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld

Becoming Kareem by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld

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Becoming Kareem by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld This is more than a play story; it is an honest, powerful account of what it means to be black in white America. The book is totally unique in a way that Kareem talks to the audience about how he truly became himself. 

Despite of him being a greatest basketball player and one of the top ten NBA players, his book is not just focusing on basketball but also on his personal life. The book will present a great insight into Kareem’s life, his journalism work in Harlem, the Cleveland Summit, and also about his relationship with his Coach Wooden. It not only brings out the struggle but also the discovery of self through history and hard work.  It brings out the culture of black people and will definitely inspire those who want to know about their culture and hardships. This book is easy to read and well structured, also it will inspire you and will make you feel better and stronger.

Important Features-

  • A book which captures an influential account of players.
  • Bringing out racial discrimination elements.
  • A boo talking about self-discovery. Read More

3. Life On The Run

by Bill Bradley

Life On The Run by Bill Bradley

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Life On The Run by Bill Bradley Bill Bradley is one of the most motivating and significant characters in basketball history. It is a remarkable book which presents great insight into the author’s life. The author describes the highs and lows he faced during his life. He also describes the challenges he faced in court. The book is a thoughtful insight into the life of a professional basketball player in the mid-1970s.

He talks about the time when the players weren’t multimillionaires. He brings out the fact that being a professional athlete is a mixed feeling. He talks all about the life, he tells us how the players spent their day, how they used to cope up with their physical exertion, the constant pain and tension. The book is an interesting glimpse of what it was like to be a player back in 1970s. Bill Bradley brings out the interesting profiles of his players life as well. Grab this book to know about basketball and the life of the players.

Important Features-

  • A book by the most motivating player.
  • Brings out thoughtful message.
  • Based on the life of basketball players. Read More

4. Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend

by Bill Russell and Alan Steinberg

Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend by Bill Russell and Alan Steinberg

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Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend by Bill Russell and Alan Steinberg Bill Russell and Alan Steinberg were the utmost basketball players. Bill Russell with the Boston Celtics was one of the greatest efficacious dynasties in league history. This book will give you mixed feelings with an excellent ending.  It is a great book where Bill Russell describes his exclusive relationship and total understanding between the two friends.

He also describes his history of being a black man with a widowed father who raised him all alone. Throughout the book, Russell describes the deep relationship he had with his father, and his coach. The book is not only about basketball but also about friendship and relationships. This book will charm to Boston fans, sports fans overall and people fascinated in interactive relationships with only a passing interest in sports. The book is a decent read which will give you a glimpse of some “behind the scenes” accounts that most people possibly didn’t know about the famous Red Auerbach. It is an inspiring book that explores the anatomy of friendship.

Important Features-

  • A book by the most successful players.
  • Bringing out personal elements.
  • A book about basketball, friendship and relationships. Read More

5. Got To Give The People What They Want: True Stories And Flagrant Opinions From Center Court

by Jalen Rose

Got To Give The People What They Want: True Stories And Flagrant Opinions From Center Court by Jalen Rose

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Got To Give The People What They Want: True Stories And Flagrant Opinions From Center Court by Jalen Rose This is an honest, unbiased and real collection of short stories and opinions about basketball. It gives us some inside information about the Michigan ‘Fab Five’. Jalen Rose gives us an honest insight into the game of basketball by giving us negative and positives of his life as a whole.

The book will make you feel that you are present at all those events described. He describes about his playing days and his current job at ESPN as an analyst and commentary. He also talks about the “controversy” that led to Michigan’s self-sanctioning of the titles and makes a persuasive argument that college athletes should not only be paid but allowed to “major in athletics.” The best part of the book is the autobiographical elements about Jalen on how he came from a tough neighborhood to achieve so much success. In short, the bold approach towards this book will absolutely clasp your attention.

Important Features-

  • An autobiographical book
  • A book which is unbiased and real.
  • The book brings out distinctive, deep, and considerate meaning. Read More

6. A View From Above

by Wilt Chamberlain

A View From Above by Wilt Chamberlain

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A View From Above by Wilt Chamberlain To every sports and basketball fans, this is an excellent book. The book is written by the greatest athlete in American history. Wilt Chamberlain is an outspoken and a controversial writer. He freely expresses his views on various subjects which will make you astonished.  It is a book from an egotistic, an opinioned man with very biased, sometimes uninformed, view of social affairs. It is an entertaining yet unexpected book with a collection of beliefs and rambling about everything imaginable.  

Chamberlain offers an indication into his sexual encounters, his relationship with Bill Russel, his thoughts on Jordan, Bird and Magic and also about his take on multi-million salaries. He gives an honest view on most of the things. He not only devotes a full chapter to sex and love but also reveals why he remained a bachelor after all those years.  In short, the book is an amazing window into the thoughts of the author, about his relationships, and even about his views on other players.

Important Features-

  • A book by a brilliant athlete.
  • The book brings out collection of beliefs. Read More

7. The Winner Within: A Life Plan For Team Players

by Pat Riley

The Winner Within: A Life Plan For Team Players by Pat Riley

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The Winner Within: A Life Plan For Team Players by Pat Riley Pat Riley is known to be the most successful basketball coaches in NBA history. The author does a great style of articulating a leadership style in his book. He uses practical ideas and examples throughout the book to build teamwork and partnerships. It is an excellent and an informative book on being a good team player. It is a story of a team that lost, won, lost and then came back to win consistently.

He goes into exact details on how to sacrifice yourself for the team.  The book does a great job in explaining his teaching points. The book also provides a great insight on overcoming team disfunctionalities. He breaks down the success into eleven stages and briefly describes them. His speciality is to take the strengths of an individual and then blend them into a great team. He also uses business stories and other human interest stories to make his points. In short, this is a great book for people who have to work in a team setting.

Important Features-

  • A novel by the most successful basketball coach.
  • A book bringing out leadership skills.
  • This book brings out valuable lessons. Read More

8. West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life

by Jerry West and Jonathan Coleman

West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life by Jerry West and Jonathan Coleman

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West By West: My Charmed, Tormented Life by Jerry West and Jonathan Coleman To all those people who follow basketball knows that Jerry West was a best athlete and an excellent general manager. This book tells us about the life of Jerry West, about how he had an unhappy family which scarred him for the rest of his life.

Reading this book will bring out great insights of West’s life. He is regarded as the greatest player whose desire for love, acceptance, and respect are accomplished through playing basketball. The book reveals us great detail of his inner turmoil as a human being. This book is not summarizing his great deeds but tells us an honest brutal review of his weaknesses. The author talks about his friends who constantly supported him. The author talks about his struggles, his darkest hours, his flaws, and his glory on the court. There are only few authors who look so deeply in the mirror and Jerry West is one of them. In short, this book brings out remarkable details about the author’s life and his struggles. So, read this book to fully appreciate the legend.

Important Features-

  • A book bringing great insight into the life of a player.
  • An honest review of Jerry West’s weaknesses.
  • The book is emotional and passionate. Read More

9. Dr. J: The Autobiography

by Julius Erving and Karl Taro Greenfeld

Dr. J: The Autobiography by Julius Erving and Karl Taro Greenfeld

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Dr. J: The Autobiography by Julius Erving and Karl Taro Greenfeld Julius Erving is known to be the most charismatic player ever. The book is written by an honest and unmistakable voice. The autobiographical book presents a great insight into the life of the author. It tells us about honesty, heartbreaks, redemption defeat, doubt, and disappointment.

The book is a self-portrait of the basketball legend where he describes his personal failings and painful losses.  This interesting and entertaining book presents us the author’s life from childhood to adulthood, and then his basketball career and his retirement.  Even the book will give you a great knowledge of basketball game.  The author tells his life story apparently without any desire to make himself look good or bad. The author did not to hide his mistakes or transgressions and he admitted when he did things wrong. It is an interesting book because it gives the reader a true vision into how a pro athlete has to live their lives with all the fame and fortune. In short, this is a captivating and persuasive memoir compared to most Sports books.

Important Features-

  • Thoughtful and a reflective book.
  • A convincing memoir.
  • A magnificent book bringing out the personal failings and losses of the player. Read More

10. The Victory Machine:  The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty

by Ethan Sherwood Strauss

The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty by Ethan Sherwood Strauss

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The Victory Machine: The Making and Unmaking of the Warriors Dynasty by Ethan Sherwood Strauss The author is a Golden State Warriors beat reported for The Athletic. His book contains some good insight into the Warrior’s Championship run. It’s a short book, but Warriors fans, and basketball fans will find interesting.

Because the author writes for the Warriors regularly, he has vision and understanding about the franchise like few others. He scatters in some stories, mainly about Kevin Durant, that are sometimes amusing, but frequently moving, about the kind of team the Warriors were during their window of extreme success. The author has some great sources and his sharp, witty and insightful book will grab your attention.  Instead of recapping the games and playoff series wins, Strauss takes a different approach to telling the reader about Golden State’s success. He concentrates on the business side of the game for insight into the team. From Ethan Strauss’s eyes we get to know about the team’s culture, its economic motivations and fights. He shows us how little moments can define success or failure for years.

Important Features-

  • An entertaining book by a reporter.
  • Amusing and insightful book.
  • Tells us about team’s culture. Read More

Conclusion

Top 10 Dunks of The Decade

We always watch basketball players play countless times but don’t know about their personal life and their struggle. So, now you have a chance to know about these players, about their lives and their struggles

Majority of these players spend their life by practicing and improving their fitness level.

These books will not just bring out the elements of the game but also deep, insightful and considerate meaning. 

You should grab the books from this list and dive into this year with new experiences to ride into.

This is my recommendation on my favorite books written by basketball players. These books bring a great insight and tell us not only about leadership skills but also about team’s culture.

You can check biographies of some famous basketball legends here on biography.com.

In case you have your favorite books other than what is in this article, you can always leave a comment. We will try to include it in our next article update titled – My Favorite Books Written by the Greatest Basketball Players.

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