From the Court to the Page: The Best Books by NBA Players

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is home to some of the world’s most talented and celebrated athletes. But did you know many of these players also took their talents off the court and penned books? From memoirs to children’s literature, NBA players have written many works now available for readers to enjoy.

Here are some of the best books written by NBA players:

When The Game Was Ours

By Larry Bird, Earvin Magic Johnson, and Jackie MacMullan

The rivalry between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson was a legendary tale that symbolized the NBA. Both players were known for their hard work and determination, with Bird’s laser-beam focus and deadly jump shot on one side and Magic’s magnetic personality and indomitable spirit on the other. The two pushed each other to greatness in pursuit of championships and MVP awards, helping save a floundering league. When the Game Was Ours is an intimate story about these two greats, revealing details surrounding their competitive relationship and eventual lifelong friendship for the first time.

Becoming Kareem

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld

Becoming Kareem is the first memoir for young readers by sports legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It follows him from his childhood surrounded by racism and prejudice to finding guidance and inspiration from those around him, like Jack Donahue, John Wooden, Muhammad Ali, and Bruce Lee. With an unmatched support system, Abdul-Jabbar became a record-breaking basketball player who later became an activist for social change. This inspiring journey reveals how he found the drive to reach greatness on and off the court.

Life On The Run

by Bill Bradley

Written by former New York Knicks player-turned-United States Senator Bill Bradley, this account of twenty days in a pro basketball season was published almost two decades ago and continues to be a classic in sports literature. Bradley takes readers from the court to the locker room, showing us the seamless teamwork of winning games, the lonesome motel rooms of strange cities, and the tumultuous relationship between the press and fans. We witness Earl Monroe’s brutal attack outside Madison Square Garden shortly after receiving loud cheers from thousands of spectators. And finally, we understand the extreme highs and lows, concentration, and focus experienced only by those who take basketball seriously.

Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend

by Bill Russell and Alan Steinberg

Fin Red and Me Told in the vein of Big Russ & Me and Tuesdays With Morrie, this captivating story of an unlikely lifelong friendship is set against the backdrop of the greatest basketball dynasty in NBA history. Five-time MVP Boston Celtics player Bill Russell in Red and Me pays tribute to his mentor and coach, Red Auerbach. Despite their differences in culture and backgrounds, mutual respect and admiration developed between these two men, changing them forever. This remarkable book shows how much each man gave to the other and how Red Auerbach produced impressive results like no other coach. Ultimately, Red and Me is an honest representation of male friendship that readers will find refreshing and inspiring.

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

by Jalen Rose

Jalen Rose, one of the most outspoken and original voices in sports, unveils his incredible life story in Got to Give the People What They Want. Throughout his upbringing in Detroit, college career at the University of Michigan with the legendary “Fab Five,” and 13-year NBA journey under Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas, Rose has never been one to shy away from expressing himself. In this book, no topic is off limits as he offers an honest, unfiltered, unbiased perspective on basketball and life that readers won’t find anywhere else. With its raw yet refreshing stories and opinions, this colorful collection provides new insight into the sports world.

The Mamba Mentality

by Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant’s post-retirement book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, offers an inside look at the legendary “Mamba mentality” from one of the most intelligent and creative basketball players ever. Through his perspective and style of play, readers will gain invaluable insight into Bryant’s life on the court. His accounts are accompanied by stunning photographs from Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein that document his unique twenty-year journey with one athlete and one photographer. Perfect for young players, hardcore fans, and devoted students of the game, this book provides an unparalleled view of one of the most celebrated athletes in history.

The Winner Within: A Life Plan For Team Players

by Pat Riley

The Winner Within, the New York Times bestselling book from one of the greatest NBA coaches ever, is Pat Riley’s game plan for success, not just on the court, but in business, at home, and in personal achievement. Through his winning strategies that inspire change, motivate teamwork, and reveal the winner within us all, readers will learn to create success and reach their fullest potential. With an inspirational tone and timeless wisdom, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to reach their full potential. As Anthony Robbins puts it: “no one committed to success can afford to miss this opportunity to learn from the coach of the decade.”


These books offer unique insights from some of the most iconic basketball players and coaches in NBA history, from the court to the page. Each book originally approaches its subject matter, giving readers an inside look into the lives of their heroes both on and off the court. Whether you’re a hardcore fan or just curious about what makes these legends so successful, these books will provide you with valuable lessons and advice to help you reach your fullest potential. So grab a copy today and get ready to experience the best of basketball from the court to the page!

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