Tag Archives: sports

Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by Jeff Pearlman



Gotham,
March 4, 2014,
Hardcover


The New York Times bestselling author of Sweetness delivers the first all-encompassing account of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of professional sports’ most-revered — and dominant — dynasties.

The Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s personified the flamboyance and excess of the decade over which they reigned. Beginning with the arrival of Earvin “Magic” Johnson as the number-one overall pick of the 1979 draft, the Lakers played basketball with gusto and pizzazz, unleashing their famed “Showtime” run-and-gun style on a league unprepared for their speed and ferocity — and became the most captivating show in sports and, arguably, in all-around American entertainment. The Lakers’ roster overflowed with exciting all-star-caliber players, including center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and they were led by the incomparable Pat Riley, known for his slicked-back hair, his Armani suits, and his arrogant strut. Hollywood’s biggest celebrities lined the court and gorgeous women flocked to the arena. Best of all, the team was a winner. Between 1980 and 1991, the Lakers played in an unmatched nine NBA championship series, capturing five of them.

Bestselling sportswriter Jeff Pearlman draws from almost three hundred interviews to take the first full measure of the Lakers’ epic Showtime era. A dazzling account of one of America’s greatest sports sagas, Showtime is packed with indelible characters, vicious rivalries, and jaw-dropping, behind-the-scenes stories of the players’ decadent Hollywood lifestyles.

From the Showtime era’s remarkable rise to its tragic end — marked by Magic Johnson’s 1991 announcement that he had contracted HIV — Showtime is a gripping narrative of sports, celebrity, and 1980s-style excess.

Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson and Larry Sloman



Kindle Edition
Blue Rider Press
11/12/13
A bare-knuckled, tell-all memoir from Mike Tyson, the onetime heavyweight champion of the world—and a legend both in and out of the ring. Philosopher, Broadway headliner, fighter, felon—Mike Tyson has defied stereotypes, expectations, and a lot of conventional wisdom during his three decades in the public eye. Bullied as a boy in the toughest, poorest neighborhood in Brooklyn, Tyson grew up to become one of the most thrilling and ferocious boxers of all time—and the youngest heavyweight champion ever. But his brilliance in the ring was often compromised by reckless behavior. Years of hard partying, violent fights, and criminal proceedings took their toll: by 2003, Tyson had hit rock bottom, a convicted felon, completely broke, the punch line to a thousand bad late-night jokes. Yet he fought his way back; the man who once admitted being addicted “to everything” regained his success, his dignity, and the love of his family.

With a triumphant one-man stage show, his unforgettable performances in the Hangover films, and his new found happiness and stability as a father and husband, Tyson’s story is an inspiring American original. Brutally honest, raw, and often hilarious, Tyson chronicles his tumultuous highs and lows in the same sincere, straightforward manner we have come to expect from this legendary athlete. A singular journey from Brooklyn’s ghettos to worldwide fame to notoriety, and, finally, to a tranquil wisdom, Undisputed Truth is not only a great sports memoir but an autobiography for the ages.

The Longest Fight: In the Ring with Joe Gans, Boxing’s First African American Champion by William Gildea

Many people came to Goldfield, Nevada, America’s last gold-rush town, to seek their fortune. However, on a searing summer day in September 1906, they came not to strike it rich but to watch what would become the longest boxing match of the twentieth century — between Joe Gans, the first African American boxing champion, and “Battling” Nelson, a vicious and dirty brawler. It was a match billed as the battle of the races.

In The Longest Fight, the longtime Washington Post sports correspondent William Gildea tells the story of this epic match, which would stretch to forty-two rounds and last two hours and forty-eight minutes. A new rail line brought spectators from around the country, dozens of reporters came to file blow-by-blow accounts, and an entrepreneurial crew’s film of the fight, shown in theaters shortly afterward, endures to this day.

The Longest Fight also recounts something much greater — the longer battle that Gans fought against prejudice as the premier black athlete of his time. It is a portrait of life in black America at the turn of the twentieth century, of what it was like to be the first black athlete to successfully cross the nation’s gaping racial divide. Gans was smart, witty, trim, and handsome — with one-punch knockout power and groundbreaking defensive skills — and his courage despite discrimination prefigured the strife faced by many of America’s finest athletes, including Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, and Muhammad Ali.

Inside the ring and out, Gans took the first steps for the African American athletes who would follow, and yet his role in history was largely forgotten until now. The Longest Fight is a reminder of the damage caused by the bigotry that long outlived Gans, and the strength, courage, and will of those who fought to rise above.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
June 19, 2012
Hardcover

Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi

Kindle:


Hardcover:


Audio CD:
When Meb Keflezighi won the New York City Marathon in 2009 — the first American to do so in 27 years — some critics questioned whether the Eritrean-born runner was “really” an American despite his citizenship status and representing the USA on two Olympic and several World Championship teams. Yet Meb is the living embodiment of the American dream. His family came to the U.S. to escape from a life of poverty and a violent war with Ethiopia; Meb was 12 at the time, spoke no English, and had never raced a mile. Yet he became an A student and a high school state and national champion. And when he stood on the platform as a silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics, Meb knew his hard work and determination had paid off. How could life be any better?

Then it all came crashing down. Meb, a favorite for the Beijing Olympics, fractured his pelvis during the trials and was left literally crawling. His close friend and fellow marathoner suffered a cardiac arrest at the trials and died that same day. Devastated, Meb was about to learn whether his faith in God, the values his parents had taught him, and his belief that he was born to run were enough to see him through.

Run to Overcome tells the inspirational story of a man who discovered the real meaning of victory, and who embodies the American spirit of overcoming the odds.

Run to Overcome: : The Inspiring Story of an American Champion’s Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream
by Meb Keflezighi, Joan Benoit Samuelson (Foreword), Dick Patrick (Contributor)

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
October 25, 2010

Bestselling Basketball Books in 2011

  1. Shaq Uncut: My Story by Shaquille O’Neal
    (Grand Central Publishing, 2011-11-15, Hardcover)
    Superman. Diesel. The Big Aristotle. Shaq Fu. The Big Daddy. The Big Shaqtus. Wilt Chamberneezy. The Real Deal. The Big Shamrock. Shaq. You know him by any number of names, and chances are you know all about his legendary basketball career: Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal is a four-time NBA champion and a three-time NBA Finals MVP. After being an All-American at Louisiana State University, he was the overall number one draft pick in the NBA in 1992. In his 19-year career, Shaq racked up 28,596 career points (including 5,935 free throws!), 13,099 rebounds, 3,026 assists, 2,732 blocks, and 15 All-Star appearances.
    These are statistics that are almost as massive as the man himself. His presence-both physically and psychologically-made him a dominant force in the game for two decades.But if you follow the game, you also know that there’s a lot more to Shaquille O’Neal than just basketball. Shaq is famous for his playful, and at times, provocative personality. He is, literally, outsize in both scale and persona. Whether rapping on any of his five albums, challenging celebrities on his hit television show “Shaq Vs.,” studying for his PhD or serving as a reserve police officer, there’s no question that Shaq has led a unique and multi-dimensional life. And in this rollicking new autobiography, Shaq discusses his remarkable journey, including his candid thoughts on teammates and coaches like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Phil Jackson, and Pat Riley.
    From growing up in difficult circumstances and getting cut from his high school basketball team to his larger-than-life basketball career, Shaq lays it all out in SHAQ UNCUT: MY STORY.

     

  2. West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life by Jerry West
    (Little, Brown and Company, 2011-10-19, Hardcover)
    He is one of basketball’s towering figures: “Mr. Clutch,” who mesmerized his opponents and fans. The coach who began the Lakers’ resurgence in the 1970s. The general manager who helped bring “Showtime” to Los Angeles, creating a championship-winning force that continues to this day. Now, for the first time, the legendary Jerry West tells his story-from his tough childhood in West Virginia, to his unbelievable college success at West Virginia University, his 40-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and his relationships with NBA legends like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. Unsparing in its self-assessment and honesty, WEST BY WEST is far more than a sports memoir: it is a profound confession and a magnificent inspiration.

     

  3. Basketball Junkie: A Memoir by Chris Herren
    (St. Martin’s Press, 2011-05-10, Hardcover)
    I was dead for thirty seconds.That’s what the cop in Fall River told me.  When the EMTs found me, there was a needle in my arm and a packet of heroin in the front seat.At basketball-crazy Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts, junior guard Chris Herren carried his family’s and the city’s dreams on his skinny frame. His grandfather, father, and older brother had created their own sports legends in a declining city; he was the last, best hope for a career beyond the shuttered mills and factories. Herren was heavily recruited by major universities, chosen as a McDonald’s All-American, featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story, and at just seventeen years old became the central figure in Fall River Dreams, an acclaimed book about the 1994 Durfee team’s quest for the state championship. 
    Leaving Fall River for college, Herren starred on Jerry Tarkanian’s Fresno State Bulldogs team of talented misfits, which included future NBA players as well as future convicted felons. His gritty, tattooed, hip-hop persona drew the ire of rival fans and more national attention: Rolling Stone profiled him, 60 Minutes interviewed him, and the Denver Nuggets drafted him. When the Boston Celtics acquired his contract, he lived the dream of every Massachusetts kid—but off the court Herren was secretly crumbling, as his alcohol and drug use escalated and his life spiraled out of control. 
    Twenty years later, Chris Herren was married to his high-school sweetheart, the father of three young children, and a heroin junkie. His basketball career was over, consumed by addictions; he had no job, no skills, and was a sadly familiar figure to those in Fall River who remembered him as a boy, now prowling the streets he once ruled, looking for a fix. One day, for a time he cannot remember, he would die.
    In his own words, Chris Herren tells how he nearly lost everything and everyone he loved, and how he found a way back to life. Powerful, honest, and dramatic, Basketball Junkie is a remarkable memoir, harrowing in its descent, and heartening in its return. 

     

  4. When the Garden Was Eden: Clyde, the Captain, Dollar Bill, and the Glory Days of the New York Knicks by Harvey Araton
    (Harper, 2011-10-18, Hardcover)
    The late 1960s and early 1970s, in New York City and America at large, were years marked by political tumult, social unrest—and the best professional basketball ever played. Paradise, for better or worse, was a hardwood court in Midtown Manhattan. When the Garden Was Eden is the definitive account of how the New York Knickerbockers won their first and only championships, and in the process provided the nation no small escape from the Vietnam War, the tragedy at Kent State, and the last vestiges of Jim Crow. The Knicks were more than a team; they were a symbol of harmony, the sublimation of individual personalities for the greater collective good. No one is better suited to revive the old chants of “Dee-fense!” that rocked Madison Square Garden or the joy that radiated courtside than Harvey Araton, who has followed the Knicks, old and new, for decades—first as a teenage fan, then as a young sports reporter with the New York Post, and now as a writer and columnist for the New York Times. Araton has traveled to the Louisiana home of the Captain, Willis Reed (after writing a column years earlier that led to his abrupt firing as the Knicks’ short-lived coach); he has strolled the lush gardens of Walt “Clyde” Frazier’s St. Croix oasis; discussed the politics of that turbulent era with Senator Bill Bradley; toured Baltimore’s church basement basketball leagues with Black Jesus himself, Earl “the Pearl” Monroe; played memory games with Jerry “the Brain” Lucas; explored the Tao of basketball with Phil “Action” Jackson; and sat through eulogies for Dave DeBusschere, the lunch-bucket, 23-year-old player-coach lured from Detroit, and Red Holzman, the scrappy Jewish guard who became a coaching legend. In When the Garden Was Eden, Araton not only traces the history of New York’s beloved franchise—from Ned Irish to Spike Lee to Carmelo Anthony—but profiles the lives and careers of one of sports’ all-time great teams, the Old Knicks. With measured prose and shoe-leather reporting, Araton relives their most glorious triumphs and bitter rivalries, and casts light on a time all but forgotten outside of pregame highlight reels and nostalgic reunions—a time when the Garden, Madison Square, was its own sort of Eden.

     

  5. The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James by Scott Raab
    (Harper, 2011-11-15, Hardcover)
    “If there was an opportunity for me to return to Cleveland and those fans welcomed me back, that’d be a great story.”—Lebron James Scott Raab is a last vestige of Gonzo Journalism in an era when sanitary decorum reigns. Crude but warmhearted, poetic but raving, Raab has chronicled—at GQ and Esquire—everything from nights out with the likes of Tupac and Mickey Rourke to a moral investigation into Holocaust death-camp guard Ivan the Terrible to the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, but the book you hold in your hands is neither a story nor a job: The Whore of Akron is the product of lifelong suffering, and a mission bound with the meaning of existence. Raab sat in the lower bowl of Cleveland Stadium on December 27, 1964, when the Browns defeated the Colts for the NFL World Championship—the last sports title the declining city has won. He still carries his ticket stub wherever he goes, safely tucked within a Ziploc bag. The glory of that triumph is an easy thing to forget—each generation born in Cleveland is another generation removed from that victory; an entire fan base “whose daily bread has forever tasted of ash.” LeBron James was supposed to change all that. A native son of Akron, he was already world famous by the age of seventeen, had already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, was already worth $90 million to Nike. He seemed like a miracle heaven-sent by God to transform Cleveland’s losing ways. That the Cavaliers drafted him, the hometown prodigy, with the first pick of the 2003 draft, seemed nothing short of destiny. But after seven years—and still no parade down Euclid Avenue—he left. And he left in a way that seemed designed to twist the knife: announcing his move to South Beach on a nationally televised ESPN production with a sly title (“The Decision”) that echoed fifty years of Cleveland sports futility. Out of James’s treachery grew a monster. Raab, a fifty-nine-year-old, 350-pound, Jewish Santa Claus with a Chief Wahoo tattoo, would bear witness to LeBron’s every move, and in doing so would act as the eyes and ears of Cleveland itself. (He did not keep this intentions a secret and was promptly banned by the Miami Heat.) The Whore of Akron is an indictment of a traitorous athlete and the story of Raab’s hilarious, profane (and profound) quest to reveal the “wee jewel-box” of LeBron James’s very soul.

     

  6. The Ecstasy of Defeat: Sports Reporting at Its Finest by the Editors of the Onion by Editors of The Onion
    (Hyperion, 2011-10-11, Paperback)
    The Sports Page As You’ve Never Seen It Before From painfully obvious steroid revelations to sex scandals and superstars who announce trades in over-the-top TV specials, the wide world of sports can often seem too ridiculous for words. Well, attention sports fans: In The Ecstasy of Defeat, the editors of The Onion offer the laugh-out-loud funny and long overdue lampoon of sports culture you’ve been waiting for. Filled with the very best of The Onion’s bench-clearing sports coverage. No topic escapes the satirical slap of America’s Finest News Source, and the book covers not only mainstream sports–such as baseball, basketball, and football–but also lesser sports, sports culture, and special events like the World Cup and the Olympics. Featuring all the players, teams, and sports we love–and love to hate–The Ecstasy of Defeat is a must-read for sports nuts and Onion fans alike.

     

  7. Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias J. Moskowitz
    (Crown Archetype, 2011-01-25, Hardcover)
    In Scorecasting, University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports, and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won and lost.Drawing from Moskowitz’s original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as bestselling author Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of games in all sports and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships;  the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations; the unintended consequences of referees’ tendencies in every sport to “swallow the whistle,” and more.Among the insights that Scorecasting reveals: Why Tiger Woods is prone to the same mistake in high-pressure putting situations that you and I are Why professional teams routinely overvalue draft picks The myth of momentum  or the “hot hand” in sports, and why so many fans, coaches, and broadcasters fervently subscribe to it Why NFL coaches rarely go for a first down on fourth-down situations–even when their reluctance to do so reduces their chances of winning. In an engaging narrative that takes us from the putting greens of Augusta to the grid iron of a small parochial high school in Arkansas, Scorecasting will forever change how you view the game, whatever your favorite sport might be.

     

  8. Blind Love by Mark O’Neal
    (Underdog Publishing, 2011-06-16, Kindle Edition)
    Maurice had decided to get plastered after a hard day of searching for his missing fiancee, Gabrielle. She disappeared a week before their scheduled wedding in June, and Maurice had been searching for her the entire summer to no avail. The police couldn’t find any evidence to suggest that she was murdered, so they called off their search efforts. Maurice conducted his own search efforts, and the despair of being unsuccessful had taken its toll on him.Maurice tried to get his mind off of things by focusing on his sister Erin’s and his best friend and teammate Malik’s wedding instead that was taking place on the last weekend in August. He began to put the pieces of the puzzle together once his friend Agent Stanton told him that Gabrielle was hiding out from her sociopath ex-boyfriend. He would soon discover that Gabrielle wasn’t the woman he thought she was, and their inevitable meeting would have dire consequences.

     

  9. The Defender (Kindle Single) by Jordan Conn
    (The Atavist, 2011-07-06, Kindle Edition)
    Manute Bol was the first African-born player in the NBA and, at seven foot seven inches, the tallest. In the 1980s and 90s he was also among the league’s most fearsome shot-blockers and its most beloved figures. Off the basketball court, however, Bol’s story was more remarkable than most fans ever knew. Activist, gambler, joker, rebel—Bol was a complex man whose fate was inextricably bound with that of the Sudan, his homeland. Writer Jordan Conn traveled to southern Sudan to explore Bol’s remarkable path from Africa to the NBA, his rise to stardom and fall into obscurity, and his final role as a renowned humanitarian and key figure in his homeland’s independence. Conn’s account, the latest Kindle Single from The Atavist, is a funny and moving portrait of a man who lived a life befitting his outsized body. Jordan Conn is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He contributes regularly to SI.com, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Slam, and Draft, among others.

     

  10. Jewball by Neal Pollack
    (2011-10-05, Kindle Edition)
    From the bestselling satirist and memoirist Neal Pollack comes a funny, gritty historical noir about a tough Jew on the brink and about a great American game coming into its own.1937. The gears of world war have begun to grind, but Inky Lautman, star point guard for the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association, America’s greatest basketball team, is dealing with his own problems. His coach has unwittingly incurred a massive gambling debt to the German-American Bund. His main basketball rival is self-righteously leading public protests against the rise of homegrown American fascism. And his girlfriend wants him to join a Jewish student organization that’s all talk and no action. It’s more than Inky can deliver. He just wants to play ball and occasionally beat people up for money. The tides of history are flowing against a guy like Inky. Can he make his free throws and still make it through the season alive? This…is Jewball.

     

  11. Joe Tait: It’s Been a Real Ball (Stories from a Hall-of-fame Sports Broadcasting Career) by Terry Pluto
    (Gray & Co., Publishers, 2011-11-04, Paperback)
    Legendary broadcaster Joe Tait is like an old family friend to three generations of Cleveland sports fans. This book celebrates his hall-of-fame career with stories from Joe and dozens of fans, media colleagues, and players. It’s co-written with Joe by award-winning sportswriter Terry Pluto.
    What made Joe Tait so special? Fans believed him. He was “one of us.” He made the game come alive, and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind–even when it might get him in trouble with the coach or the owners. He was a throwback, a purist. Despite the bling and flash that has become so much a part of pro sports, for Joe the game always came first.
    Northeast Ohioans know Tait best as the voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He called the radio play-by-play from the team’s first year in the NBA, 1970, until his retirement in 2011 (with the exception of two years in the early 1980s). His animated voice and no-nonsense announcing brought the excitement of the game home to listeners, from the “Miracle at Richfield” to the LeBron James years.

     

  12. Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias by Don Van Natta Jr.
    (Little, Brown and Company, 2011-06-02, Hardcover)
    This is the extraordinary story of a nearly forgotten American superstar athlete. Texas girl Babe Didrikson never tried a sport too tough and never met a hurdle too high. Despite attempts to keep women from competing, Babe achieved All-American status in basketball and won gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Olympics.Then Babe attempted to conquer golf. One of the founders of the LPGA, Babe won more consecutive tournaments than any golfer in history. At the height of her fame, she was diagnosed with cancer. Babe would then take her most daring step of all: go public and try to win again with the hope of inspiring the world.A rollicking saga, stretching across the first half of the 20th century, WONDER GIRL is as fresh, heartfelt, and graceful as Babe herself.

     

  13. Reed All About It: Driven to be a Jayhawk by Tyrel Reed
    (Ascend Books, 2011-10-01, Paperback)
    Of all the wonderful players who have worn the crimson and blue for the University of Kansas basketball program through the years, only one can claim to be the “winningest” Jayhawk of all — Tyrel Reed. Reed, who concluded his playing career in March 2011, has written a new book that chronicles his time with the Jayhawks — Reed All About It: Driven to Be a Jayhawk. The book published by Ascend Books of Overland Park, Kansas, is co-written by long-time Topeka Capital Journal Sports Columnist Tully Corcoran.Reed was a champion on the court — as part of the Jayhawks’ National Championship in 2008 — and in the classroom, as a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team member. He was part of more wins than any other player in the storied history of the Kansas program.The son of a coach from Burlington, Kansas, Reed developed into an important leader and “glue guy” for the Jayhawks. He was an excellent outside shooter, sinking 170 three-point field goals in his career, and a clutch free throw shooter, with an .810 success rate.In his book, Reed describes what it was like to play for Coach Bill Self, how the game has changed with “one-and-done” freshmen players, and how he was able to excel academically despite the demands of basketball practice and road trips.Told with heart and good humor, Reed All About It: Driven to Be a Jayhawk, is a must-read for any fan of college basketball.

     

  14. Physical Education (Murder 101 Mystery) by Maggie Barbieri
    (Minotaur Books, 2011-11-22, Hardcover)
    College English professor and sometime amateur sleuth Alison Bergeron would’ve been thrilled to hear that her husband, NYPD Detective Bobby Crawford, was leaving Homicide if that were the whole story, but it turns out that Bobby’s next assignment is even worse—undercover. As if worrying about his involvement in a case he won’t talk about at all wasn’t bad enough, Alison is forced to take over the women’s basketball team at St. Thomas after the coach dies of a heart attack during a game. She may not know much about basketball, but she’s no stranger to sleuthing, and it isn’t long before she suspects that the coach’s death may be more than unexpected but premeditated as well.With Bobby deep undercover and Alison always on her way to deep trouble, it’s only a matter of time before they run smack into each other in Physical Education, the latest in Maggie Barbieri’s charming Murder 101 mystery series.

     

The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World by Dave Zirin

Seen around the world, John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power salute on the 1968 Olympic
podium sparked controversy and career fallout. Yet their show of defiance remains one of the most iconic
images of Olympic history and the Black Power movement. Here is the remarkable story of one of the men
behind the salute, lifelong activist John Carlos.

John Carlos is an African American former track and field athlete, professional football player, and a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He won the bronze medal in the 200 meters race at the 1968 Olympics, where his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. The John Carlos Story is his first book.

Dave Zirin is the author of four books, including Bad Sports, A People’s History of Sports in the United States, and What’s My Name, Fool? He writes the popular weekly online sports column “The Edge of Sports” and is a regular contributor to SportsIllustrated.com, SLAM, Los Angeles Times, and The Nation, where he is the publication’s first sports editor.

Free Shipping on orders of $25 or more at BarnesandNoble.com!

Cuban Star by Adrian Burgos

A proud and boisterous Negro League team owner, Alex Pompez rose to prominence during Latino baseball’s earliest glory days. As a passionate and steadfast advocate for Latino players, he helped bring baseball into the modern age. But like many in the era of segregated baseball, Pompez also found that the game alone could never make all ends meet, and he delved headlong into the seedier side of the sport — gambling — to help finance his beloved team, the New York Cubans. He built one of the most infamous numbers rackets in Harlem, rubbing shoulders with titans of the underworld such as Dutch Schultz and eventually arousing the ire of the famed prosecutor Thomas Dewey. He also brought the Cubans, with their incredible lineup of international players, to a Negro League World Series Championship in 1947.

Pompez presided over the twilight of the Negro League, holding it together as long as possible in the face of integration even as he helped his players make the transition to the majors. In his later days as a scout, he championed some of the brightest future Latino stars and became one of Latin America’s most vocal advocates for the game.

That today’s rosters are filled with names like Rodriguez, Pujols, Rivera, and Ortiz is a testament to the influence of Pompez and his contemporaries.

Cuban Star: How One Negro-League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball
by Adrian Burgos

Hill and Wang
Available April 26, 2011 in Hardcover

The Big Fight by Sugar Ray Leonard

In this unflinching and inspiring autobiography, the boxing legend faces his single greatest competitor: himself.

Sugar Ray Leonard‘s brutally honest and uplifting memoir reveals in intimate detail for the first time the complex man behind the boxer. The Olympic hero, multichampionship winner, and beloved athlete waged his own personal battle with depression, rage, addiction, and greed.

Coming from a tumultuous, impoverished household and a dangerous neighborhood on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., in the 1970s, Sugar Ray Leonard rose swiftly and skillfully through the ranks of amateur boxing-and eventually went on to win a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics. With an extremely ill father and no endorsement deals, Leonard decided to go pro.

The Big Fight takes readers behind the scenes of a notoriously corrupt sport and chronicles the evolution of a champion, as Leonard prepares for the greatest fights of his life-against Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, and Wilfred Benitez. At the same time Leonard fearlessly reveals his own contradictions and compulsions, his infidelity, and alcohol and cocaine abuse.

With honesty, humor, and hard-won perspective, Leonard comes to terms with both triumph and struggle-and presents a gripping portrait of remarkable strength, courage, and resilience, both in and out of the ring.

The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring
Sugar Ray Leonard (Author), Michael Arkush (Author)

Viking Adult
Available June 6, 2011 in Hardcover

I Beat the Odds by Michael Oher

I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond
by Michael Oher with Don Yaeger

Gotham
Available February 8, 2011 in Hardcover

The football star made famous in the hit film The Blind Side reflects on how far he has come from the circumstances of his youth.

Michael Oher is the young man at the center of the true story depicted in The Blind Side movie (and book) that swept up awards and accolades. Though the odds were heavily stacked against him, Michael had a burning desire deep within his soul to break out of the Memphis inner-city ghetto and into a world of opportunity. While many people are now familiar with Oher’s amazing journey, this is the first time he shares his account of his story in his own words, revealing his thoughts and feelings with details that only he knows, and offering his point of view on how anyone can achieve a better life.

Looking back on how he went from being a homeless child in Memphis to playing in the NFL, Michael talks about the goals he had for himself in order to break out of the cycle of poverty, addiction, and hopelessness that trapped his family for so long. He recounts poignant stories growing up in the projects and running from child services and foster care over and over again in search of some familiarity. Eventually he grasped onto football as his ticket out of the madness and worked hard to make his dream into a reality. But Oher also knew he would not be successful alone. With his adoptive family, the Touhys, and other influential people in mind, he describes the absolute necessity of seeking out positive role models and good friends who share the same values to achieve one’s dreams.

Sharing untold stories of heartache, determination, courage, and love, I Beat the Odds is an incredibly rousing tale of one young man’s quest to achieve the American dream.

Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson

Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson
Charles R. Smith Jr. (Author), Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)

Roaring Brook Press
Available 06/22/10 in Hardcover

Born as Arthur John Johnson in the southern state of Texas, Jack Johnson was one of the most renowned boxers of the 20th century. Through hard work and persistence he climbed the ranks, taking a swing and a jab and eventually busting the color barrier. As the first black man to win the Heavyweight Championship, there was more than a title on the line. Published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this history-making bout (July 4, 1910), this is an extraordinary marriage of poetry, fabulous collage artwork, and a splendid achievement in its own right.

Satch, Dizzy, and Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson by Timothy M. Gay

Simon & Schuster
Available 03/16/10 in Hardcover

Before Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball in 1947, black and white ballplayers had been playing against one another for decades — even, on rare occasions, playing with each other. Interracial contests took place during the off-season, when major leaguers and Negro Leaguers alike fattened their wallets by playing exhibitions in cities and towns across America. These barnstorming tours reached new heights, however, when Satchel Paige and other African-American stars took on white teams headlined by the irrepressible Dizzy Dean. Lippy and funny, a born showman, the native Arkansan saw no reason why he shouldn’t pitch against Negro Leaguers. Paige, who feared no one and chased a buck harder than any player alive, instantly recognized the box-office appeal of competing against Dizzy Dean’s “All-Stars.” Paige and Dean both featured soaring leg kicks and loved to mimic each other’s style to amuse fans. Skin color aside, the dirt-poor Southern pitchers had much in common.

Historian Timothy M. Gay has unearthed long-forgotten exhibitions where Paige and Dean dueled, and he tells the story of their pioneering escapades in this engaging book. Long before they ever heard of Robinson or Larry Doby, baseball fans from Brooklyn to Enid, Oklahoma, watched black and white players battle on the same diamond. With such Hall of Fame teammates as Josh Gibson, Turkey Stearnes, Mule Suttles, Oscar Charleston, Cool Papa Bell, and Bullet Joe Rogan, Paige often had the upper hand against Diz. After arm troubles sidelined Dean, a new pitching phenom, Bob Feller — Rapid Robert — assembled his own teams to face Paige and other blackballers. By the time Paige became Feller’s teammate on the Cleveland Indians in 1948, a rookie at age forty-two, Satch and Feller had barnstormed against each other for more than a decade. These often obscure contests helped hasten the end of Jim Crow baseball, paving the way for the game’s integration. Satchel Paige, Dizzy Dean, and Bob Feller never set out to make social history — but that’s precisely what happened. Tim Gay has brought this era to vivid and colorful life in a book that every baseball fan will embrace.

The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant

Pantheon
Available 05/11/10 in Hardcover

The first definitive biography of Henry Aaron — baseball’s great home-run champion and one of its most enduring legends.

As the steroid controversy has increasingly tarnished baseball’s image, Hank Aaron‘s achievements have come to seem all the more remarkable: the first player to pass Babe Ruth in home runs, Aaron held that record for thirty-three years while shattering other records (RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits) and setting new ones (hitting at least thirty home runs per season fifteen times). But his achievements run much deeper than his stats. Chronicling the social upheavals of the years during which Aaron played (1954 to 1976), Howard Bryant shows us how the dignity and determination with which he stood against racism — on and off the field, and as one of the first blacks in baseball’s upper management — helped transform the role and significance of the pro­fessional black athlete and turn Aaron into an national icon.

Eloquently written, detailed, and penetrating, this is a revelatory portrait of both the great ballplayer and the complicated private man.

Willie Mays by James S. Hirsch

Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend
by James S Hirsch

Scribner
Available 02/09/10 in Hardcover

Authorized by Willie Mays and written by a New York Times bestselling author, this is the definitive biography of one of baseball’s immortals.

Considered to be “as monumental — and enigmatic — a legend as American sport has ever seen” (Sports Illustrated), Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player in baseball history, still revered for the passion he brought to the game. He began as a teenager in the Negro Leagues, became a cult hero in New York, and was the headliner in Major League Baseball’s bold expansion to California. With 3,283 hits, 660 home runs, and 338 stolen bases, he was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that enraptured fans for more than two decades. Now, in the first biography authorized by and written with the cooperation of Willie Mays, James Hirsch reveals the man behind the player.

Willie is perhaps best known for “The Catch” — his breathtaking over-the-shoulder grab in the 1954 World Series. But he was a transcendent figure who received standing ovations in enemy stadiums and who, during the turbulent civil rights era, urged understanding and reconciliation. More than his records, his legacy is defined by the pure joy that he brought to fans and the loving memories that have been passed to future generations so they might know the magic and beauty of the game. With meticulous research, and drawing on interviews with Mays himself as well as with close friends, family, and teammates, Hirsch presents a complex portrait of one of America’s most significant cultural icons.

Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson by Wil Haygood

Knopf
Available 10/13/09

From the author of the critically acclaimed In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., comes another illuminating socio-historical narrative of the twentieth century, this one spun around one of the most iconic figures of the fight game, Sugar Ray Robinson.

Continuing to set himself apart as one of our canniest cultural historians, Wil Haygood grounds the spectacular story of Robinson’s rise to greatness within the context of the fighter’s life and times. Born Walker Smith, Jr., in 1921, Robinson had an early childhood marked by the seething racial tensions and explosive race riots that infected the Midwest throughout the twenties and thirties. After his mother moved him and his sisters to the relative safety of Harlem, he came of age in the vibrant post-Renaissance years. It was there that — encouraged to box by his mother, who wanted him off the streets — he soon became a rising star, cutting an electrifying, glamorous figure, riding around town in his famous pink Cadillac. Beyond the celebrity, though, Robinson would emerge as a powerful, often controversial black symbol in a rapidly changing America. Haygood also weaves in the stories of Langston Hughes, Lena Horne, and Miles Davis, whose lives not only intersected with Robinson’s but also contribute richly to the scope and soul of the book.

From Robinson’s gruesome six-bout war with Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta and his lethal meeting with Jimmy Doyle to his Harlem nightclub years and thwarted show-biz dreams, Haygood brings the champion’s story, in the ring and out, powerfully to life against a vividly painted backdrop of the world he captivated.

On the Line by Serena Williams

On the Line by Serena Williams

On the Line
by Serena Williams (Author), Daniel Paisner (Contributor)

Available 9/15/09

One of the biggest stars in tennis, Serena Williams has captured every major title. Her 2009 Australia Open championship earned her the #1 world ranking for the third time in her illustrious career – and marked only the latest exclamation point on a life well and purposefully lived. As a young girl, Serena began training with an adult-sized racquet that was almost as big as her. Rather than dropping the racquet, Serena saw it as a challenge to overcome-and she has confronted every obstacle on her path to success with the same unflagging spirit. From growing up in the tough, hardscrabble neighborhood of Compton, California, to being trained by her father on public tennis courts littered with broken glass and drug paraphernalia, to becoming the top women’s player in the world, Serena has proven to be an inspiration to her legions of fans both young and old. Her accomplishments have not been without struggle: being derailed by injury, devastated by the tragic shooting of her older sister, and criticized for her unorthodox approach to tennis. Yet somehow, Serena always manages to prevail. Both on the court and off, she’s applied the strength and determination that helped her to become a champion to successful pursuits in philanthropy, fashion, television and film. In this compelling and poignant memoir, Serena takes an empowering look at her extraordinary life and what is still to come.

Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend by Larry Tye

Satchel Paige
Satchel Paige

Random House
Available 06/09/09

He is that rare American icon who has never been captured in a biography worthy of him. Now, at last, here is the superbly researched, spellbindingly told story of athlete, showman, philosopher, and boundary breaker Leroy “Satchel” Paige.

Few reliable records or news reports survive about players in the Negro Leagues. Through dogged detective work, award-winning author and journalist Larry Tye has tracked down the truth about this majestic and enigmatic pitcher, interviewing more than two hundred Negro Leaguers and Major Leaguers, talking to family and friends who had never told their stories before, and retracing Paige’s steps across the continent. Here is the stirring account of the child born to an Alabama washerwoman with twelve young mouths to feed, the boy who earned the nickname “Satchel” from his enterprising work as a railroad porter, the young man who took up baseball on the streets and in reform school, inventing his trademark hesitation pitch while throwing bricks at rival gang members.

Tye shows Paige barnstorming across America and growing into the superstar hurler of the Negro Leagues, a marvel who set records so eye-popping they seemed like misprints, spent as much money as he made, and left tickets for “Mrs. Paige” that were picked up by a different woman at each game. In unprecedented detail, Tye reveals how Paige, hurt and angry when Jackie Robinson beat him to the Majors, emerged at the age of forty-two to help propel the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. He threw his last pitch from a big-league mound at an improbable fifty-nine. (“Age is a case of mind over matter,” he said. “If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”)

More than a fascinating account of a baseball odyssey, Satchel rewrites our history of the integration of the sport, with Satchel Paige in a starring role. This is a powerful portrait of an American hero who employed a shuffling stereotype to disarm critics and racists, floated comical legends about himself — including about his own age — to deflect inquiry and remain elusive, and in the process methodically built his own myth. “Don’t look back,” he famously said. “Something might be gaining on you.” Separating the truth from the legend, Satchel is a remarkable accomplishment, as large as this larger-than-life man.

Black Men Can’t Shoot by Scott N. Brooks

Black Men Can’t Shoot
by Scott N. Brooks

Available 06/22/09

The myth of the natural black athlete is widespread, though it’s usually only talked about when a sports commentator or celebrity embarrasses himself by bringing it up in public. Those gaffes are swiftly decried as racist, but apart from their link to the long history of ugly racial stereotypes about black people — especially men — they are also harmful because they obscure very real, hard-fought accomplishments. As Black Men Can’t Shoot demonstrates, such successes on the basketball court don’t just happen because of natural gifts — instead, they grow out of the long, tough, and unpredictable process of becoming a known player.

Scott N. Brooks spent four years coaching summer league basketball in Philadelphia. And what he saw, heard, and felt working with the young black men on his team tells us much about how some kids are able to make the extraordinary journey from the ghetto to the NCAA. To show how good players make the transition to greatness, Brooks tells the story of two young men, Jermaine and Ray, following them through their high school years and chronicling their breakthroughs and frustrations on the court as well as their troubles at home. We witness them negotiating the pitfalls of forging a career and a path out of poverty, we see their triumphs and setbacks, and we hear from the network of people — their families, the neighborhood elders, and Coach Brooks himself — invested in their fates.

Black Men Can’t Shoot has all the hallmarks of a classic sports book, with a climactic championship game and a suspenseful ending as we wait to find out if Jermaine and Ray will be recruited. Brooks’s moving coming-of-age story counters the belief that basketball only exploits kids and lures them into following empty dreams — and shows us that by playing ball, some of these young black men have already begun their education even before they get to college.

Don’t Let The Lipstick Fool You by Lisa Leslie

Don’t Let The Lipstick Fool You
by Lisa Leslie

Available 03/01/09

A three-time Olympic gold medalist, three-time MVP of the WNBA, and the first woman ever to dunk in a professional basketball game, Lisa Leslie is considered one of the greatest players in the history of women’s basketball. Now in her own words, she points the spotlight onto her remarkable life off the court, where being a confident champion was not always simple.

As a child growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Lisa was timid, awkward, and over six feet tall in the sixth grade. Opponents challenged her, and she struggled to overcome self-imposed fears and limitations. But as her interest in basketball grew, she toughened both her game and her resolve. She also learned she could retain her femininity and throw a few elbows too.

Still there was a nagging notion that girls–even tall girls and especially pretty ones – could not play well. At the same time, Lisa’s home life, though loving, was unstable. Lisa never knew her father. Her mother worked as a traveling truck-driver to support the family, leaving Lisa to shuffle between relatives. Lisa’s beloved older sister seemed only to torment her, harbor hidden jealousies, and would later go on to steal her identity and almost ruin her finances. And as a young woman, it would take two broken engagements before Lisa finally found the love of her life.

Yet overcoming tremendous doubts are what paved the way to Lisa’s greatest achievements–scoring 101 points in the first half of a high school basketball game; signing with Wilhelmina Models and appearing in Vogue magazine; and of course traveling the world and winning championship after championship…after championship.

Today, Lisa is a beautiful, poised, assertive, six-foot-five-inch basketball powerhouse. Her elegance and charm have made her a favorite with fans, the fashion world, and even Hollywood. With hard-won candor and self-assurance, Lisa Leslie shares her empowering story about finding grace under pressure, balancing a life of contradiction without losing yourself, and exceeding expectations–including your own–by playing like a girl.

Tiger Woods: In Black and White

Tiger Woods: In Black and White
by Hank Haney (Contributor), Jules Alexander (Photographer)

Available November 2008

Tiger Woods is not only the world’s most recognized athlete, but its leading exemplar of excellence. His breathtaking athleticism, superb technique, grace under pressure, and the sheer scope of his ever-expanding record have combined to make him – at age 32 – widely regarded as the greatest golfer to ever play the game. Like other physical geniuses, his very movement commands out attention. But despite the millions of words and images put forth in the pursuit of Tiger, Woods remains a largely mysterious figure. In spite of his exalted acts on the golf course and ubiquitous presence as an endorser, he gives very little of himself away. Naturally, his enigmatic nature has only increased our fascination.

Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow

Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow
Author: James Sturm
Illustrator: Rich Tommaso

Baseball Hall-of-Famer Leroy “Satchel” Paige (1905?–1982) changed the face of the game in a career that spanned five decades. Much has been written about this larger-than-life pitcher, but when it comes to Paige, fact does not easily separate from fiction. He made a point of writing his own history . . . and then rewriting it. A tall, lanky fireballer, he was arguably the Negro Leagues’ hardest thrower, most entertaining storyteller, and greatest gate attraction. Now the Center for Cartoon Studies turns a graphic novelist’s eye to Paige’s story. Told from the point of view of a sharecropper, this compelling narrative follows Paige from game to game as he travels throughout the segregated South.

In stark prose and powerful graphics, author and artist share the story of a sports hero, role model, consummate showman, and era-defining American.