With Opening Day behind us and the NBA finals on the horizon, there’s a new crop of sports books making the rounds. This season’s offerings include a guide to soccer-speak, a Muhammad Ali biography and a novel about the Tour de France. Here are six of the most intriguing new books by or about athletes — all of which would make great gift ideas for sports-loving parents on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
By Tom Callahan
In the latest biography of “the King,” Callahan (a former TIME writer) not only documents the facts and figures of the golf legend’s incredible career, but also shares stories from his own interactions with Palmer, and anecdotes from friends and competitors who admired him.
By Leigh Montville
Montville follows the world-class boxer’s political controversies, beginning with his initial religious conversion and name change and carrying through his court battle as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. Even after making deeply unpopular decisions, he remained an American hero, and his legacy would only grow brighter.
3. Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules
By A.J. Mendez Brooks
The recently retired WWE wrestler (ring name: A.J. Lee) opens up about her transformation from a shy, lonely kid who idolized superheroes, into an athlete capable of pretty super feats herself. Brooks opens up about her bipolar disorder diagnosis and recounts a time when she refused to take part in a storyline for her WWE character that would have trivialized mental illness. Ultimately, she says, she opted for early retirement because of damage she sustained to her cervical spine.
By David Coventry
This book fictionalizes the 1928 Tour de France, when a pack of cyclists from New Zealand and Australia became the first English-speaking group to compete in the famous race. One of the riders competes while under the influence of cocaine and opium, struggling to finish the race as its landscapes bring back his traumatic memories of the Great War.
By Chipper Jones
The former Atlanta Braves third baseman recounts his rise from a Florida childhood to a career as one of the greatest switch-hitters in MLB history. An eight-time All-Star and likely first-ballot inductee for the Hall of Fame next year, Jones doesn’t just dwell on the high points but opens up about his sometimes turbulent personal life, his infamous rivalry with the New York Mets and the temptation to take steroids during an era when they were rampant (though he says he never did).
By Sally Cook and Ross MacDonald
Soccer is gaining in popularity as a spectator sport in the U.S., which means it’s time for us to bone up on our vocabulary. Cook and MacDonald define lingo that will help you look smart at your next viewing party. For instance, you may know that scoring three goals in a match is a “hat trick,” but did you know scoring two goals is called a “brace”?
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