When I hear the phrase "tell all," I imagine a recap show of a drama series on Bravo. While some athlete tell-alls are exactly that, others have no intention of throwing shade at other people. Rather, they are look backs straight from the source on what happened, why it happened, and often other details that nobody else would know.
It's for that reason that these books typically fall into one of those two categories. Some people want and love the drama; others just want the facts straight from the horse's mouth. Regardless of which camp you're in, I'm confident you'll find some of each in the list below. From inspirational sports memoirs to behind-the-scenes looks at critical games or matches, you may have a different perspective on history following some of these reads.
Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
In this candid memoir, Agassi reveals the highs and lows of his professional tennis career, including his struggles with drugs, his troubled relationship with his father, and his eventual redemption. I love this book, and it made our list of Best Motivational Books.
My Fight/Your Fight by Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey, one of the most successful female fighters in UFC history, shares her journey from a troubled childhood to Olympic judo medalist to UFC champion. She also discusses the challenges she faced as a woman in a male-dominated sport and her struggles with depression and anxiety.
Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson
In this raw and unfiltered memoir, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson tells the story of his life, including his rise to fame, his infamous personal life, and his eventual downfall. If you want drama, Iron Mike brings the goods. This book also made our list of Best Boxing Books.
Behind The Mask by Tyson Fury
The 2020 Telegraph Sports Book of the Year, Behind the Mask goes inside the head of boxing's most unlikely champion. Only a pound at birth and despite struggles with cocaine and alcohol, Fury finds his redemption in the ring. Props to Fury on his open and honest recollection of his substance abuse and how he battled through severe mental health issues.
I'll Never Change My Name: An Immigrant's American Dream from Ukraine to the USA to Dancing with the Stars by Valentin Chmerkovskiy
This memoir tells the story of Valentin Chmerkovskiy, a Ukrainian-American dancer, choreographer, and reality TV star. He shares his journey from growing up in Ukraine to finding success on Dancing with the Stars, as well as his experiences with discrimination and his search for identity.
Tiger Woods by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
This book is a comprehensive biography of golf superstar Tiger Woods, delving into his early life, rise to fame, personal struggles, and eventual comeback. It's a revealing look at one of the most famous and enigmatic athletes of our time.
Rafa: My Story by Rafael Nadal
Tennis star Rafael Nadal shares his life story, from his early days as a young player in Spain to his rise to the top of the sport. He talks candidly about his successes, setbacks, and the physical and mental challenges he's faced along the way.
Long Shot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter by Craig Hodges
This memoir tells the story of former NBA player Craig Hodges, who was known for his outspoken activism on and off the court. He discusses his experiences with racism, his fight for social justice, and the challenges he faced as a professional athlete who refused to stay silent.
The Second Half by Roy Keane
This book tells the story of Irish soccer player Roy Keane, who played for Manchester United and the Irish national team. He discusses his rise to fame, his relationships with his teammates and managers, and the controversies that marked his career.
Ball Four by Jim Bouton
This book is a classic by former major league baseball pitcher Jim Bouton, in which he shares candid and irreverent insights into the world of professional sports. He talks about the culture of the locker room, the politics of the game, and the challenges of life as a professional athlete.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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