Sports Book Reviews by Knup Sports

Sports Books Reviewed by Knup Sports

Welcome to the Knup Sports Book Reviews! Reading sports books is somewhat of a passion for our team. Tom and Rodney really dive into a number of different sports books — and they like to spread the word about which ones are good.

Below, you will read a number of “small book reviews” for all the sports books they have read lately.  We don’t get paid at all for reading or reviewing these books. So, if you happen to buy any of these books or other sports books — use our SPORTS BOOKS LINK HERE so we earn a few cents for our efforts 🙂

Books We’d Like to Read & Review

  • “Son of Bum” by Wade Phillips
  • “Big Chair” by Ned Coletti
  • ” Relentless” by Julius Edelman
  • “Golden” Story of Steph Curry

Publishers, authors, editors — if you have a sports book you’d like for us to review — contact us as soon as possible to discuss.

Eight Men Out Book Review

Read our Eight Men Out Book Review here at Knup Sports. This book is written by Eliot Asinof. We include a review and links to buy the book directly.

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Shoe Dog Book Review

Read our full Shoe Dog Book Review here at Knup Sports. Shoe Dog is written by Phil Knight and can be bought at a discount with our links.

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“Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court” By Jay Bilas

We have a quick book review for

We have a quick book review for “Toughness – Developing True Strength On and Off the Court” by Jay Bilas.

I got to admit something before I give this review. I didn’t read it. Instead I tried an audio version of it and listened to it (click here for your free trial of audible). That is a bit tougher to stay focused. But I did take notes and still found that I enjoyed the book.

I am just going to say it upfront. If you are a basketball player or a coach you should read this book. Jay Bilas uses his background at home and shares how his dad make things tough for him in order to instill some order in his life. He talks about how hard it was to play four years at Duke under Coach K. It took toughness. Now he tells us what it is and how to achieve it and handle it.

Bilas relays stories about school and life that gets you asking yourself if it applies to you and how can I apply it in my situation. He tells about an article he wrote that went viral and many AAU teams were using it as their mantra on how to live and act daily. Jay’s purpose is to get you to know the true meaning of toughness, and learn what it takes if you really want to be tough.

My favorite chapter is the one called “Preparation” which deals with his dad and his preaching to Jay on how to be prepared and concentrate on the job at hand. My favorite idea is the ladder and how each rung is important. You can’t start at the top and you must make the daily climb one rung at a time.

This is a book worth reading as it can become applicable to basketball players and coaches at any stage of their life.

CLICK HERE TO BUY “Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court”

“I Was There” by Eric Mirlis

Rodney reviews

Rodney reviews “I Was There!” by Eric Mirlis.

If you are a sports fan you will want to read the book “I Was There“. We all remember our favorite moment as a sports fan. As avid fans of a certain sport, we always have questions regarding the events that happen.

Now, you can find out what the professionals have to say. We hear from 65 of the top media members, including Marc Albert, Bob Costas, Joe Buck, Dick Stockton, Trey Wingo and many more. Eric Mirlis, the author takes you into the life of the broadcaster in a unique way, as if you were at the event.

For me personally, I enjoy hearing the stories about a great sporting event. This does the job. You will love this book, and it’s a must for sports fans of all ages. Like the history of sports? Here is your chance to read more about it!  Highly recommend reading: “I Was There”!


“Success Is the Only Option” By John Calipari

Read Kentucky coach John Calipari's book called

Read Kentucky coach John Calipari’s book called “Success is the Only Option”. Tom has a nice book review here.

Running one of the premier college basketball programs in the country is a difficult thing to do. But Kentucky coach John Calipari has a plan that helps sustain the level they reach each and every year. The advice given in “Success is the Only Option” can be used for CEO’s, business managers, teachers, coaches and other aspects of society to are trying to build a successful group around them.

Coach Cal is known for traveling the country and recruiting some of the best talent in the nation without giving them outlandish promises. He uses the mantra to “commit to each other, be about each other without sacrificing your goals, and by doing this you can achieve all YOUR dreams and more.”

Calipari is used to his players being stars in their own right before they reach him. He knows they have been the main event with plenty of YouTube videos showing the world their special talents in basketball. That is why he understands and makes it clear to his players that it is alright to be a one and done but there are rules that must be followed as they turn from individuals to a team of stars.

With this happening, he views each team like it is a startup business and he must help them grow. He understands his players, he knows what makes them tick, what makes them upset and what motivates them to success. He share this knowledge that can be used as a recipe for success for the business model.

He is quick to add that he can’t always control every aspect of the game but he is the man in charge just as business leaders are in their environment. This book offers a glimpse into ways to win whether it is on the basketball floor or in the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company.

It has many basketball stories to illustrate his thoughts but can be used by any manager of people. The book is worth reading.


“Gunslinger” by Jeff Pearlman

This is our sports book review of

This is our sports book review of “Gunslinger” about Brett Favre.

This book is all about the football icon Brett Favre. He seems so simple to most people and he is all about football and good shaving. But it wasn’t always that simple for the great quarterback. He is and always has been a very complex person.

So where does the term “Gunslinger” come from?

First, let’s look at the authors point to the youth of Favre. He grew up in Mississippi and came from a small town with all the small town stereotypes including the “aw shucks.” Favre was loved locally but had some issues in his life that were serious and could have taken over his entire being. He was a flawed human being that dealt in pain killing and alcohol along with unkind treatment of others and being unfaithful to his wife. How did he survive those problems?

Pearlman goes into some details into the life of Favre from the Mississippi roots to what he knew as an isolated Green Bay. Included is the story and how he got through these issues with the help of his wife. He gives us some insight into the throwing style of Favre and the “gunslinger” methods. Brett Favre was not a simple man.

Buy your copy of Gunslinger here!

“Courage to Soar- A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance” by Simone Biles

Simone Biles book called

Simone Biles book called “Courage to Soar” is one you might want to read. Take a look at our review here.

Life is good when you have 19 Olympic medals in which 14 of them are gold. But as Simone Biles tells us it wasn’t always that easy and she had more than a few trial and tribulations to endure along the way.

In “Courage to Soar“, Biles tells us it wasn’t easy when your mother was a drug addict and you and your 3 siblings are taken away. She never had strong feelings for her mother and even states being around her cause a knot in the stomach. But her grandparents came to the rescue after they were sent to foster care. Grandpa wanted them and Grandma needed to wait and pray to God for the answer. It comes that day from a stranger that relates a story about the lady getting a child with disabilities and how it changed her life for the better. Her grandma knew God had sent a message through this stranger to accept the children into her home.

She relates the story of her first trampoline jumps and the excitement that came from it when she got to Spring, Texas to live with her grandparents which she now calls her parents. Then on to Bannon’s Gymnastix where a coach recognized her talent even before anyone coached her.

Simone goes through the process that got her to the Olympics. It is the near misses that she talks about but never wavers on her excitement for the other teammates that are moving on. She talks about setbacks but always maintaining her faith in God.

This book is an inspiring book to read and a definite suggested read for girls to show how determination and hard work led to success.


“Tim Tebow: Through My Eyes”

Check out our sports book review of the Tim Tebow Through My Eyes book!

Check out our sports book review of the Tim Tebow Through My Eyes book!

This is a book that deals with his homeschooling, his faith and his family. In the book he and his brothers were always playing sports and with three boys one of they would have to play quarterback while the other two went one-on-one. They would play until dark or called to go to school or someone got hurt. Which happened.

Tebow talks about his homeschooling and how fantastic it was for his family and the bond that was built between each of them during the process. Then he talks about his battle with dyslexia and then he spoke about how it didn’t restrict them as they participated in all the extra stuff they could.

He tells about he was always better than other kids his age in baseball and the problems it presented and the fear and angst t put into the other parents. Also, Tebow relates how he was relegated to the line in football because he was the best athlete but wanted to play quarterback in the high school sports.

The book is full of encouragement for others as he documents the times he had to fight for what he believed in and how they helped him accomplish his dreams. It is a true inspiration as he relates the story about his mother being pregnant with him and she was told to abort as she would have issues from carrying the baby to term and she refused.

This is a book football fans will love, Christians will enjoy and parents will use to help motivate their own children. This is a book to read for all.


“You’re Welcome, Cleveland — How I Helped LeBron James Win a Championship and Save a City” by Scott Raab

This is a book written by a sports writer who is taking too much credit for LeBron James returning to Cleveland. He writes about how he grew up in the city and loved the sports in Cleveland his entire life.

By Scott Raab

He was going to write a book about how James was going to lead them to the NBA championship and just as suddenly he left for Miami. The he flashes to the moment he heard James was leaving and how he was devastated and angry. Very Angry. He changed his focus on the book and it went into a completely different turn.

In the year 2012, he wrote “The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James” that was very bitter and vicious. He focused on the act of James betraying the city and abandoned his state and region.

In Miami, LeBron James was winning championships and that left Raab and the entire Cleveland fan base with a sick feeling in their stomach. But…. James contract was up and he was looking for a city to play in and lo and behold LeBron chose Cleveland to return to.

Upon his return, Raab felt overjoyed and began writing this book.

Some things had changed but now champions was part of the Cleveland mantra. He takes us on a journey through many games but Raab was longer welcome as a member of the media. The organization (or at least James) didn’t forget the previous trashing of their star player. He was denied media credentials on every request/

This is not a great read and probably would be of interest to the fans in Cleveland or the hardcore LeBron James fans.



“Growing Up Gronk” by Dylan Gwinn

“Growing up Gronk” book review!

This book, Growing Up Gronk, is mainly written to give the dad a chance to brag about his five sons. That seems reasonable since it is estimated that to have three sons in the NFL and all at once is about 32 million-to-1 odds.

The father, Gordy Gronkowski, tells his story about how he wasn’t recruited to play football so he went from Buffalo, NY on a bus selling himself to colleges on the West Coast until he finally got an offer but it wasn’t until a chance encounter with a guy from Syracuse that he finally signed to play collegiate football.

He got injured in college and played sparingly but he became hooked on workouts and that was the driving force for his entrance into the fitness business with his brother as the started G&G Fitness.

Basically, the took his addiction for working and transferred it to each of his son. They all, in their own right, became big and strong and mostly great athletes through hard work. He touches on how each brother fed off the other to attempt to be the best.

Each of the five sons are highlighted as three were/are NFL players, one was in the major leagues and another is a college star in football. Of course, Rob Gronkowski gets the most print but he became the highest profiled player of any of the brothers.

You may like this story as it has a nice family atmosphere but if you are wanting to read about Rob Gronkowski you won’t get much. Again, this book strokes the Gronkowski father’s ego.

CLICK HERE TO BUY “Growing Up Gronk”

“A Life Well Played” about Arnold Palmer

Tom reviews

Tom reviews “A Life Well Played” about Arnold Palmer.

A Life Well Played about Arnold Palmer give the readers a glimpse of who formulated his thoughts, what motivated him and some disappointments he had in his life. “Arnie” begins by telling us how his dad worked hard everyday and became a greens taker at a local golf course. Then his dad taught him a grip and allowed him to swing however he wanted. It was this swing that got a lot of attention throughout his professional career.

Palmer shares how he was taken back by some of the comments from the professionals early in his career. He overheard one telling others “that Palmer kid should get a job, he won’t make in on the circuit.” He then mentioned how Ben Hogan spoke loudly to his buddies, for Arnold to hear, “how did Palmer get an invite to Augusta?”

As a pro that finally made it he recollects being in line to win a major tourney but having a professional buddy on the last hole or so giving him advice on how to hit a ball out of the trees. This was a clear rules violation as only the caddy to give advice. Palmer ignored him as long as he could and then blasted the ball out for a good shot. Nothing came of it but Arnold wasn’t happy. After he won the tourney people all around celebrated his win and he never realized until his next city his putter had been stolen out of his bag.

Utter disappointment came to Arnold due to a contract snag with the Wilson Company. Palmer had a handshake agreement with the president of the company that he could opt out of his contract anytime. But when that CEO was replaced they were a stickler in enforcing the contract and Arnold wanted out. The new president said no. After the current agreement ended after three years and he started his own Arnold Palmer Golf Company.

One thing Palmer wanted to see was for golf to take on a world view. Golf from all countries involving players from different parts of the world. He wanted the sport to become a better spectator sport.

He gets involved in the formation of the Golf Channel on TV even though those that advised him were against it. He said he had driven through the trees before and this was no different. The Golf Channel opened at in Orlando, Florida and the Bay Coast Golf area. Arnold Palmer was elated.

This book is an easy read and very insightful into the game of golf and the easy going personality of the great Arnold Palmer.

CLICK HERE TO BUY “A Life Well Played”

“Bias in the Booth” by Dylan Gwinn

Get our book review of the sports book, Bias in the Booth by Dylan Gwinn.

Get our book review of the sports book, Bias in the Booth by Dylan Gwinn.

You turn on TV and you just want to relax and enjoy the game. After all, you need an escape from the things that are going on in your life and shouldn’t sports be the safest place to get away?

In the book “Bias in the Booth” by Dylan Gwinn he is letting us know the liberal agenda is being spewed into our living room whether we like it or not. The entertainment factor is going away. Look what the sports journalists are doing. They have hijacked the narrative and placed it in our sports watching. The anchors of sports are no longer just talking sports, they are giving commentary on many other things that are non sports related.

It previous years, sports journalists we on top of things going on in the arena, field and court and were excited about sharing that with us. Now they are giving their liberal opinions according to Gwinn. Look at the negative press surrounding Tim Tebow and his faith and the shift to the positiveness of Michael Sams letting everyone know he is gay. It is agenda driven by the networks and people running them.

He writes,

“Many sports reporters and commentators recognize that they deal in trivialities, and yet they want to make a bigger impact on society, they want to feel more important,they want to inflate their egos by lecturing you, and as a consequence they often do their real jobs not very well.”

Gwinn lays it out for us but then decides to give his own opinions which undermines all that he has written The central message is missed. When reading this remember it is one author’s thoughts with very little sources to draw from.

This book is probably not worth the time to read. But if you are still wanting to spend a few bucks to check it out — you can buy “Bias in the Booth” right here.

“How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It” by Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban presents a nice book and read on how to win at the sport of business!

Mark Cuban presents a nice book and read on how to win at the sport of business!

This may not be a sports book in the truest sense but the analogies certainly are related. Mark Cuban talks about how he knew if he was in the right job or not. It is something you can just feel. But success is not happening just because you feel it, rather you outwork others.


Cuban relates stories of his younger days and days of sleeping on the floor to scrimp some money to make ends meet and use some to help find the right break in business. He says if you are willing to live like a broke college student to make it, then you are thinking on the right track.

Another good piece of advice is almost the only thing you can control is your effort. He talks quite a bit about effort and how you must outwork the others to be successful. His story is how he got ahead of others because he took the time to read the manuals for the software he was buying. He knew more than others and it showed. Cuban says, “The beauty of success, whether it’s finding the girl of your dreams, the right job or financial success, is that it doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.”

He is adamant in his advice that you must learn to sell. No business in history has survived with zero sales. Learn the skills of persuasion and sell. Another one of his quotes is, “It doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty, or half-full, It matters who’s pouring the water.” In other words set goals that are reachable and create the opportunity for some luck to happen.

Lastly, it was rather funny to hear Mark Cuban relate a story from Bill Gates about how women look at you when you are struggling and then how they view you when you are a person of money. “As I would learn later in life, money makes you extremely handsome.”

This is the book to read if you have hope of becoming a hopeful entrepreneur. This book has the ability to inspire.

“Everyone has got the will to win; it’s only those with the will to prepare that do win.” Mark Cuban paraphrasing Bobby Knight.


“Lucky Bastard” by Joe Buck

Check out Rodney's book review on Joe Buck's

Check out Rodney’s book review on Joe Buck’s “Lucky Bastard”.

Love him or hate him.. You all wish you had his job. Joe Buck is one of the luckiest men in sports. And, he admits it. While Jack Buck was a legend, Joe has made his own mark on the sports world.

Now, I’m a bit bias, because of my St Louis Sports allegiance, but this is a treasure. Takes you through his time with his father and all of the challenges of being a national broadcaster.

Joe dives into how he almost lost his job… Because of his hair.. He also talks about his divorce, and finding the new love of his life. Joe Buck is funny, knowledgeable and family man, and this is pretty evident in this book.

Highly recommend to sports fans. And no, Joe does not hate your team.


Attitude: Develop a Winning Mindset on and off the Court

Jay Wright is a winning college basketball coach at Villanova. He shares his philosophy on competition and throws in lessons from his coaching career all the way to winning the National Championship.

He shares leadership secrets and winning culture ideas that propelled a school of 6,500 to win it all 20 years after Rollie Massimino left the program as the head coach. He shares key principles that aspire his athletes which include honoring those that came before them. His ideas can be used in corporate America in any boardroom of this nation.

Nike co-founder, Phil Knight, states that the book is filled with wonderful anecdotes, life lessons, and that which we all seek: wisdom.” Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski shares that the book has a blueprint for playing hard, smart and together.

“In my four years at Villanova, Coach Wright taught me what it means to be a respected leader and how infectious a positive daily approach can be. Reading Attitude made me feel like I was right back with my teammates in a circle at center court after practice, listening to Coach’s insight into how I could become a better player and a better leader.”—Ryan Arcidiacono, co-captain, 2015–2016 Villanova Wildcats

This book is worth the read as it contains valuable information on how to prepare for the championship level and how to achieve a goal through building a team that nurtures a winning culture.