The Editor’s Reading List: Books By Black Male Athletes

The following book titles have been compiled from www.barnesandnoble.com by our editor. The photos and synopsis of each book also comes from Barnes & Noble. If purchasing from this list, please consider using Barnes & Noble or another independent book store! These retailers give fair compensation to authors and publishing companies, which keeps the publishing industry in business. For your convenience, just click the photo of the book cover for a direct link to order said book from Barnes & Noble. Also, be sure to read our 7 BOOKS BY BLACK FEMALE ATHLETES.

7 BOOKS BY BLACK MALE ATHLETES

Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett

click to order!

Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change maker. He’s also one of the most scathingly humorous athletes on the planet, and he wants to make you uncomfortable.

Bennett adds his unmistakable voice to discussions of racism and police violence, Black athletes and their relationship to powerful institutions like the NCAA and the NFL, the role of protest in history, and the responsibilities of athletes as role models to speak out against injustice. Following in the footsteps of activist-athletes from Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick, Bennett demonstrates his outspoken leadership both on and off the field.

Written with award-winning sportswriter and author Dave Zirin, Things that Make White People Uncomfortable is a sports book for our turbulent times, a memoir, and a manifesto as hilarious and engaging as it is illuminating.

I Never Had it Made: An Autobiography by Jackie Robinson

click to order!

The bestselling autobiography of American baseball and civil rights legend Jackie Robinson

Before Reggie Jackson, before Hank Aaron, baseball’s stars had one undeniable trait in common: they were all white. In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke that barrier, striking a crucial blow for racial equality and changing the world of sports forever. I Never Had It Made is Robinson’s own candid, hard-hitting account of what it took to become the first black man in history to play in the major leagues.

I Never Had It Made recalls Robinson’s early years and influences: his time at UCLA, where he became the school’s first four-letter athlete; his army stint during World War II, when he challenged Jim Crow laws and narrowly escaped court martial; his years of frustration, on and off the field, with the Negro Leagues; and finally that fateful day when Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers proposed what became known as the “Noble Experiment”—Robinson would step up to bat to integrate and revolutionize baseball.

More than a baseball story, I Never Had It Made also reveals the highs and lows of Robinson’s life after baseball. He recounts his political aspirations and civil rights activism; his friendships with Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, William Buckley, Jr., and Nelson Rockefeller; and his troubled relationship with his son, Jackie, Jr.

I Never Had It Made endures as an inspiring story of a man whose heroism extended well beyond the playing field.

The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant

click to order!

The Mamba Mentality: How I Play is Kobe Bryant’s personal perspective of his life and career on the basketball court and his exceptional, insightful style of playing the game—a fitting legacy from the late Los Angeles Laker superstar.

In the wake of his retirement from professional basketball, Kobe “The Black Mamba” Bryant decided to share his vast knowledge and understanding of the game to take readers on an unprecedented journey to the core of the legendary “Mamba mentality.” Citing an obligation and an opportunity to teach young players, hardcore fans, and devoted students of the game how to play it “the right way,” The Mamba Mentalitytakes us inside the mind of one of the most intelligent, analytical, and creative basketball players ever.

In his own words, Bryant reveals his famously detailed approach and the steps he took to prepare mentally and physically to not just succeed at the game, but to excel. Readers will learn how Bryant studied an opponent, how he channeled his passion for the game, how he played through injuries. They’ll also get fascinating granular detail as he breaks down specific plays and match-ups from throughout his career.

Bryant’s detailed accounts are paired with stunning photographs by the Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein. Bernstein, long the Lakers and NBA official photographer, captured Bryant’s very first NBA photo in 1996 and his last in 2016—and hundreds of thousands in between, the record of a unique, twenty-year relationship between one athlete and one photographer.

The Keeper: A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them by Tim Howard

click to order!

In this inspiring, down-to-earth memoir the revered goalkeeper and American icon  idolized by millions worldwide for his dependability, daring, and humility recounts his rise to stardom at the 2014 World Cup, the psychological and professional challenges he has faced, and the enduring faith that has sustained him.

In The Keeper, the man who electrified the world with his amazing performance in Brazil does something he would never do on a soccer field: he drops his guard. As fiercely protective about his privacy as he is guarding the goal on the field, Howard opens up for the first time about how a hyperactive kid from New Jersey with Tourette’s syndrome defied the odds to become one of the world’s premier goalkeepers.

The Keeper recalls his childhood, being raised by a single mother who instilled in him a love of sports and a devout Christian faith that helped him cope when he was diagnosed with Tourette’s in the fifth grade. He looks back over his fifteen-year professional career—from becoming the youngest player to win MLS Goalkeeper of the Year to his storied move to the English Premier League with Manchester United and his current team, Liverpool’s Everton, to becoming an overnight star after his record-making performance with the United States Men’s National Team. He also talks about the things closest to his heart—the importance of family and the Christian beliefs that guide him.

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins

click to order!

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare — poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.

In Can’t Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.

Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life by Michael Strahan  

click to order!

From the beloved cohost of Good Morning America, NFL Hall of Fame member and Super Bowl champion Michael Strahan comes a motivational guide to tackle each day from the moment you get out of bed.

Pulling from his own life experiences, Michael Strahan details the mix of mental discipline, positive thinking, and sense of play that lead him to a Super Bowl XLII victory as a member of the New York Giants, and later to star alongside Kelly Ripa in the hit daytime talk show Live! with Kelly and Michael. Each of these “Strahan Rules” will guide you step-by-step through developing a work ethic and mental durability that will prime you to achieve your goals and transform your life.

Delivered with his signature wit and wisdom, Strahan’s Rules combine a range of advice, from values he picked up from his father who served in the military to professors who teach on the science of happiness and include:

Rule #5: Too many of us count ourselves out before we even give ourselves a chance…Do the work. Be excellent. You’ll find your place.
Rule #11: You can’t change other people, but you can change how you are around them, and sometimes, a lot of times, that’s more than enough.
Rule #12: Listen to other people, but don’t take their opinions for fact. Have your own experiences. Draw your own conclusions.

Whether you are attempting to achieve your career goals, seeking to better your relationships or simply up your optimism quotient, Wake Up Happy will inspire you.

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy

click to order!

2008 Retailer’s Choice Award winner!
Tony Dungy’s words and example have intrigued millions of people, particularly following his victory in Super Bowl XLI, the first for an African American coach. How is it possible for a coach—especially a football coach—to win the respect of his players and lead them to the Super Bowl without the screaming histrionics, the profanities, and the demand that the sport come before anything else? How is it possible for anyone to be successful without compromising faith and family? In this inspiring and reflective memoir, now updated with a new chapter, Coach Dungy tells the story of a life lived for God and family—and challenges us all to redefine our ideas of what it means to succeed.

The softcover edition of this #1 New York Times best-seller includes a new chapter! In it, Coach reflects on the 2007 football season and last year’s successful hardcover release of Quiet Strength. Also features a foreword by Denzel Washington and a 16-page color-photo insert. Over 1 million in print!