Best Basketball Books

What are the Top Books About Basketball of All-Time?

Are you looking for the best book on basketball that you should gift your friend, kid or family member who is a basketball junkie and a bibliophile at the same time? 

You might be confused as to which book to settle on, given that there are hundreds of options that have been written by top basketball players and coaches. It is not easy to downplay the importance of one book over the other.

In this article, we give you a list of our top picks (after the Kobe Bryant Book of course since that will forever be our favorite) that you might find fascinating whether you are looking for your next read or you are simply trying to find a good read for someone else.

We hope that you will find your option from these picks.

1.Walk-On Warrior by John Willkom

This is a raw, gritty, and authentic look at what it takes to play division one college basketball. Written from an athlete’s perspective, coaches, players, and fans can relate to Willkom’s journey as a walk-on at Marquette, working for Hall of Fame coach, Rick Majerus, assisting the Milwaukee Bucks, and the doors that would open for him as a result. Both heartfelt and funny, Willkom’s passion for basketball and this story are evident on every page.

2. Toughness by J. Bilas

This book by Jay Bilas goes at 8 US dollars on Amazon, and it speaks to basketball players in general and basketball coaches. The commentator was a great college basketball player back then, and even played in two national championship teams.

In his book, he seeks to engage his audience on the toughness that every budding basketball player needs to have both on and off-court to succeed.

3. Eleven Rings by P. Jackson

Who else is in a position to give better advice than the pro basketball player cum coach? In case you didn’t know, Phil Jackson won 11 NBA championships.

In the book, he shares how he managed to lead so many teams into triumph during his time as a head coach at NBA. He gives narrations of the times he shared with the best teams.

Just so you know, he coached top players including Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

4. Life is Not an Accident by J. Williams

Life is Not an Accident’ is a book by Jay Williams, a basketball analyst. It is intended to reach basketball players and fans. Just a recap, Williams was a budding basketball player, who gave his best to all his college games.

However, he got an accident before he could make it to the NBA. The book sheds light on his life afterwards. It is a nice read that you can’t miss.

5. Tales from the Kentucky Wildcats Locker Room

Who wants to miss stories about the popular Kentucky college basketball games? The book gives an account of these success tales, and will be intriguing to all basketball lovers (whether they are Kentucky fans or they have never heard about it).

All members of the program all the way from the players and coaches share the stories that are untold of.

6. The Jordan Rules by S. Smith

The New York best seller by Sam Smith goes for 13 US dollars. Both basketball players, fans and coaches alike will love these untold tales about Michael Jordan.

For most of us, he is just among the best NBA basketball players the sport has ever had. But what about the behind-the-scenes parts that made him the star we see on court? Want to find out more?

Check out the unsaid experiences while he played with the Chicago Bulls in his first championship season.

7. Sum It Up by M. P. Summit

Meet Pat Summit, the legendary head coach of her time. Having started her coaching career at an age of 21 years old, she definitely has much to share about her 38 years career.

With a record of more than 1, 000 victories, she is better placed to say what an award winning team should and should not do. The book targets basketball coaches.

8. The Assist by N. Swidey

Neil Swidey tells the story of a high school basketball team that makes it to state championships each year, regardless of the many hurdles on the way.

Being a school based in Boston, issues to do with racism and differences in social classes are almost inevitable. Get to learn how they managed to push forward and bring out the best out of the problems.

As they say, you should learn to make lemonade whenever life gives you lemons.

9. Bleeding Orange by J. Boeheim

This is a good book for coaches who are looking forward to learn from their seniors who have had a considerable level of experience on the field. Meet Jim Boeheim, alead authority when it comes to coaching.

Jim has built his career as a college basketball coach at Syracuse University, with over 50 years of experience.

10. Pistol by M. Kriegel

Mark Kriegel tells the story of Pete Maravich, a talented and skilled basketball player to have braced our courts.

Well, most of us usually tend to know the interesting sides of players as we see them while on court. We really don’t know how much they went through before they could record those victories.

Mark discusses Pete’s life far and beyond the court. You get to know the sacrifices he took together with his family in order to get there.

11. Wooden by J. Wooden

You can’t possibly make a list of gifted college basketball coaches without throwing the name John Wooden somewhere. He might not have been the best, but he was good in what he did!

Winning 10 National Collegiate Athletic Association championships in 12 years is not a walk in the park. Read the stories from over 200 first-hand accounts as told by Seth Davis.

12. When the Game Was Ours by J. MacMullan

Jackie MacMullan tells the account of some of the most vicious competitors in the NBA history, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. 

The spirit of competitiveness is one of the top attributes that make a good basketball player. Look at Kobe Bryant and these tow as the good examples. However, something good came out of the bad.

You get to understand that period in the NBA history from the eyes of the now bosom buddies.


13. The Miracle of St. Anthony by A. Wojnarowski

Adrian Wojnarowski explores the story of St. Anthony’s best coach, one Bob Hurley. He is obviously among the best high school basketball coaches, having led his school’s teams from one victory to another.

The book makes a follow up of one season that Bob had to prepare his team to get to the basketball finals. It tells of what the coach did both on and off court, to bring out the best out of his team.

14. Players First

This is another top pick for coaches who are looking forward to learn from the experiences of their fellow coaches who started their careers earlier.

‘Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out’ tells the story of John Calipari, a college basketball coach. It covers his experiences coaching the Kentucky teams for the first 4 years.

It’s keen to highlight the challenges he faced along the way.

15. Fab Five by M. Albom

Whether you are a coach, a basketball player or just a basketball fan, this college basketball story should be your next read.

Mich Albom covers the story of Michigan’s five teammates who led their team to victory, getting into the national championships game. The story is a combination of what you probably know and what you don’t.

Find out why there were accusations of tampering with the team’s recruitment and other exciting off-court findings. You won’t regret reading this one.

16. The Winner Within by P. Riley

Grab a copy of Pat Riley’s book at just 12 US dollars, and get to learn much more about basketball from this top coach.

The book focuses on how you can successfully excel in your basketball games from within yourselves. It is an eye-opening advice that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Besides, it also gives an insight on how you can approach life from the coache’s perspective. As such, it is an all-round book.

17. Wooden on Leadership

This is the second book about John Wooden that is appearing in our top picks. Perhaps, it sends a message about the college basketball coach. His reputation precedes him, and learning from him is worth a shot.

The book looks into the life of Wooden and gives an account of important leadership skills that you can pick from the legend. If you want to know how to create a winning organization, you are at the right place.

18. Showboat

You can’t talk about the most successful NBA players without mentioning Kobe Bryant. There is a ton of things to learn from this player.

His dedication, work ethics, competitive spirit and attention to details are unparalleled. Heard of the mamba mentality? Learn the best game hacks from the black mamba and become a pro yourself.

The book only costs you 11 US dollars.

19. The One Day Contract

Have you ever had an urge to meet some of the hall of fame basketball coaches? Well, you might not have a chance to do so physically. But a chance of meeting Rick Pitino through his art!

Basketball coaches and business professionals have a lot to learn from this book. It covers much more than basketball. It inspires you to grind on and attain the best life. 

One lesson you will pick from this book: always take one day at a time.

20. Leading with the Heart

Coach K, having had an arguably long career as a college basketball coach, has something for you.

The 2001 best seller is not exclusive to matters basketball. You get to learn a few life tips that will help you as you go along with life.

It covers important topics including trust, leadership and communication.

21. The Hoops Whisperer by I. Ravin

Meet Idan Ravin, the trainer who is beyond the successes of best NBA players including Kevin Durant and LeBron James. How does he manage to raise such iconic basketball players?

If you are a basketball coach or trainer, be my guest. Learn the various drills, hacks and techniques that Ravin employs on his students.

22. The Golden Whistle: Going Beyond by J. Burson

Jim Burson’s ‘The Golden Whistle: Going Beyond: The Journey to Coaching Success’ goes at 15 US dollars, perhaps the most expensive book on this list. The price alone prepares you on what to expect.

For basketball coaches, the book covers the various circumstances an upcoming coach will find himself in and how to go about them.

Also, it covers other important life lessons beyond the basketball career.

Just so you know, the book has been recommended by three coaches so far (John Calipari, Coach K and George Raveling).

23. Stuff Basketball Players Should Know

The book is a good read for basketball players who are looking forward to perfect their game. 

In summary form, it highlights the basic concepts that each basketball player should have in their fingertips. Therefore, it is so easy to grasp the content and translate it to your on-court games.

The book work pretty well for basketball fans as well.

24. My Losing Season by P. Conroy

This is yet another good read for any basketball coach, player or fan out there. You see, life is never all about winning. At some point you will have to lose to your opponent, but you have to get up and do better next time.

Pat Conroy shares the lessons he picked from his losing seasons while playing college basketball at the Citadel. According to him, you are either going to win or to learn.

25. Practical Modern Basketball by J. Wooden

You will be surprised to learn that this is the third John Wooden book that has earned a slot in our top picks of the best basketball books.

The 10 times winner of the NCAA national championships has a lot to share with basketball coaches out there. 

This particular pick is dedicated to the various keys that make up for a good basketball coach. It discusses matters surrounding philosophy and development of skills. How about you try it out.

25. The Last Shot by D. Frey

The last book on our recommended top 25 picks is Dacey Frey’s The Last Shot. The author takes you down the path of New York City’s upcoming basketball player, sharing his journey in the career.

Further, it introduces you to New York City’s basketball culture. To understand the NYC basketball, you have to look at it from their perspective. 

At just 4 US dollars, all NYC street ball lovers have something to enjoy.


Although this list is not conclusive, we have provided you with the top 25 best seller books that are lying in our bookshelves. You can grab yourself a softcopy of these books from Amazon at affordable prices.

In case you are too lazy to read, Amazon has audios for you. Have fun reading.

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