The Best Basketball Books for Teens of 2021

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For teens who can’t get enough basketball and probably want to take it to the next level, sometimes practice and training are not enough. You have to incorporate the physical aspect of the game to the mental side of it. Of course, it’s not possible to personally talk with coaches and legendary basketball players, but what you can do is pick their brains by reading books about them. Without further ado, here are some of the best basketball books for teens.

If you want to get back to playing basketball, get our top basketball books for teens here.

Our Top Favorite
The Breaks of the Game
Our Top Runner Up
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball's Most Improbable Dynasty
Our Top Value Pick
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
Book Title
The Breaks of the Game
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable Dynasty
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
The Breaks of the Game
Book Title
The Breaks of the Game
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball's Most Improbable Dynasty
Book Title
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable Dynasty
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
Book Title
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
Prime Eligible?

Our Favorites for the Best Basketball Books for TeensOur Favorites for the Best Basketball Books for Teens

The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam

If you plan to make basketball your professional career, or at least use it to go to secure a college scholarship, you have to be a student of the game. A student means you have to study the game’s history, including having insight into teams in the 70s or 80s. In that regard, you may not find a better book than David Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam.

What Makes It Unique: 

  • Top-notch research and attention to detail.
  • Halberstam wrote 20 books in total, and all have become a New York Times bestseller.
  • It is more than just basketball. The book also tackles the dark side of the game– greed, money, and corruption.

Nobody might care about the 1979-80 Portland Trail Blazers, and probably the majority have forgotten about them, but the Bill Walton-led squad has a lot of stories to tell. These stories are not always pretty. 

Some of these include coach Jack Ramsay’s struggle on mental health and relationships, Maurice Lucas’ feelings of under-appreciation, and Billy Ray Bates’ brash and cocky style that eventually helped them make a playoff run.

When Halberstam tackles the main characters, he often takes them outside the basketball court, allowing the readers to get to know these players as people. For example, he talks extensively about Bates and upbringing in the Mississippi cotton fields or Kermit Washington, the infamous forward who punched and broke Rudy Tomjanovich’s face in an on-court fight. Of course, there is the ever-interesting Walton, whose political views and hippy lifestyle always make him a character worth paying attention to (for better or worse).

All of these factors add to the book’s prolific copiousness that you would not find in literally any basketball book.

Why Choose the Breaks of the Game: 

  • According to Bill Simmons, a famous basketball and sports personality, it is possibly the greatest sports book ever written. Not just basketball, in all of sports! He also said the book inspired him to follow and write about basketball.
  • It makes young basketball players understand the precariousness of the business and the professional basketball game. Nothing is given!
  • If it helps, you don’t have to be a super basketball fan to appreciate this gem.
Sale
The Breaks of the Game
  • (shelf 15.2.2)
  • Halberstam, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy  (by Bill Simmons)

We were inclined to put another Halberstam here, but we figured let’s give others a fair chance. Bill Simmons may be a little biased (as any sports fan is), but make no mistake about it, the guy knows his sports, especially basketball. That said, it would be somewhat of a stretch to describe it as the “definitive” NBA book, but if there’s anything that came close, this is probably it.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Simmons’ basketball knowledge seeps through every page and letter of the book. It contains terrific detail coupled with his usual wildly-opinionated personality.
  • It is the ultimate NBA crash course, especially if you’re living overseas, where the best professional basketball league is not as popular. 
  • Contains “The Secret,” something Detroit Pistons legend taught and explained to him about how to win.

Because opinions are, well, opinions, Simmons’ opinionated book has a few lackluster spots. Truthfully speaking, it might not be for some, but it would be helpful what readers find a little deficient in his work.

For instance, a reader called Simmons “insanely biased” with all the Boston teams (which is pretty understandable because he is from Boston). That’s why do not be surprised if you’ll find every Celtic legend in his self-declared “objective” list of NBA. Another thing is how he supposedly ends all the NBA “Who’s better” debates (like Wilt Chamberlain vs Bill Russell) because truth be told, there is no “end all be all” in these arguments. What we can say, including what Bill Simmons has to say, is an opinion; nothing more, nothing less.

With that being said, we can still say the book’s pros outweigh the cons by a wide margin. And even when Simmons was displaying his blatant bias, it was all always articulate and funny. After all, he wouldn’t be Bill Simmons without his love for the Beantown teams.

Why Choose the Book of Basketball:

  • If it means something, the great Malcolm Gladwell wrote the foreword to this book.
  • Takes you right into the 50s and 60s with George Mikan and the oldies. If you are a teen that wants to learn about the history of the game, you will acquire that information in heaps.
  • As crazy and biased as Bill Simmons is, he substantiates every claim he made in this book. You may not agree with everything that he’s written, but at least he thought out and researched facts to back up his claim.
Sale
The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy
  • Great product!
  • Simmons, Bill (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Our Runner Ups for the Best Basketball Books for TeensOur Runner Ups for the Best Basketball Books for Teens

The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable Dynasty by Adrian Wojnarowski

When we’re talking about basketball, especially in this modern era, it would be a crime not to mention Adrian Wojnarowski. Woj, as he is fondly called, came from humble beginnings until he established himself as probably the most credible news-breaker in this era. 

Speaking of his humble beginnings, Woj wrote about the dysfunctional St. Anthony High School basketball team. The book is about Bob Hurley, the disciplinarian coach of the high school basketball team whose mission in life is to bring teens from the streets and make them champions in the hardwood. That is until he had to coach a completely broken team.

What Makes It Unique: 

  • Unlike Breaks of the Game and The Book of Basketball, the book is also about high school basketball, which makes it super relatable to teens. You would rarely find a book centered on a high school basketball program.
  • Whether you agree with Hurley’s tough-love approach and profanity-laced coaching style, you must admire and be moved by his loyalty to his players.
  • More than just a book about basketball, The Miracle of St. Anthony is a story about relationships, which every teenager should learn about.

Like any writer and storyteller, Woj has his shortcomings, some pointed out by the readers of the book. One described his style as “cumbersome,” and called out how Woj just fell short of calling Bobby Hurley a saint. Wojnarowski’s take and portrayal of events may come off as too much of a hard sell, which some may not like.

On the other hand, as far as biography basketball books for teens and non-fiction basketball books go, you would be hard-pressed to find something as rousing and inspirational as The Miracle of St. Anthony. Without a doubt, this is one of the most inspirational sports books for youths.

Why Choose the Miracle of St. Anthony:

  • As the only high school coach in the Hall of Fame, Bob Hurley’s story deserves to be heard and known. Whether you like him or not, it’s undeniable that his approach works.
  • Woj naturally developed the characters without much fluff and commentary, a style that no doubt many would appreciate.
  • It teaches so many life lessons, especially for young teens who aspire to succeed in basketball and life.
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball's Most Improbable Dynasty
  • Wojnarowski, Adrian (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 390 Pages - 01/19/2006 (Publication Date) - Avery (Publisher)

Boy21 by Matthew Quick

The only reason why Boy21 is here at the runners-up list for the best basketball books for teens is that it is fictional. But then again, if someone as accomplished as Matthew Quick has written the story, it is certainly worth the read. 

What Makes it Unique: 

  • Quick seems to know a lot about human psychology, which is a pretty exciting world, not just for teens but of all ages.
  • The plot twists and the ending are bizarre in a good way.
  • A heart-wrenching amalgam of tragedy, comedy, love, and sports.

Again, we would prefer something nonfiction basketball books, but in this case, we are willing to make an exception. This is not your typical mainstream novel, but because it is so different, it is easy to get hooked. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, right?

Why Choose Boy21:

  • The main character, Finley, is 18 years old, making him identifiable for most teenage boys.
  • The story also includes a strong female character, so teenage girls are not going to be left out on this one.
  • One book purchaser declared that Boy21will make readers out of non-readers. The story is seriously that good.
Sale
Boy21
  • Little Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Quick, Matthew (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Our Value Picks for the Best Basketball Books for TeensOur Value Picks for the Best Basketball Books for Teens

Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life by Vernon Brundage, Jr.

Bill Simmons may be a well-known personality, and Matthew Quick had his fair share of hit novels, but have you read a book from someone who actually played Division I basketball? We bet you haven’t. That’s all going to change now because we are including Shoot Your Shot as one of our most recommended basketball books for teens.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Coming from a man, Vernon Brundage, Jr., who played Division I basketball, professional ball overseas, and went up against NBA players.
  • Seamless transition between basketball themes and practical life
  • If you’re a teen looking for that ”spark” in your life, reach no further than Shoot Your Shot.

Quite frankly, you’d be at your wit’s end trying to find something that you wouldn’t like out of this book. If you’re a parent, it’s not even a prerequisite if your teen does like basketball or not. This book is just plain informative and inspirational.

Why Choose Shoot Your Shot:

  • As one reader puts it, Brundage does an excellent job teaching life lessons in a language that this generation understands.
  • While self-help and motivational books may become dull and redundant, Brundage’s way of motivation comes at the expense of many laughs.
  • A parent who bought the book for his 15-year-old son as a gift noticed the improvement in his decision-making. The teen is not a reader but appreciated the simplicity and clarity of the message.
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
  • Brundage Jr., Vernon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 198 Pages - 10/13/2018 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball's Greatest Shooting Guards (Basketball Biography Books) by Clayton Geoffreys

Mr. Geoffreys has written about Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Allen Iverson, but we do feel Kobe Bryant’s basketball career is a more relatable message for the youth. Kobe was not anointed as a phenom like the three, but his approach to work and the game’s nuances is unparalleled.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Incredible insight into drafting and basketball deals
  • Some concepts may be challenging to grasp for a teen, but he generally makes it easy to understand.
  • It is a quick read, which is perfect for teenagers.

The last point may be a drawback for some, but for a teenager (or anyone, for that matter) who wants the meat of the story, it is only 59 pages long. It is going to be an easy read, it has a steady pace, and you will most definitely enjoy the anecdotes of the people playing with the one and only Kobe Bryant.

Why Choose Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball’s Greatest Shooting Guards:

  • One reader claims it is one of the best biography basketball books to read, making you understand Kobe’s legacy better.
  • Because it is a reasonably short book, it is perfect for a teenager’s book report.
  • If you like basketball statistics, you’re going to head-over-heels in love with this book.
Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball's Greatest Shooting Guards (Basketball Biography Books)
  • Geoffreys, Clayton (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 179 Pages - 10/30/2014 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

How to Choose the Best Basketball Books for Teens

If you’re a parent wanting to give basketball books as a gift to your kid or a teen looking for some good basketball books to pass your time, you would probably have an idea of how to go about in your choice. Basketball fans like us do not think alike. Some may want a fictional novel while some want the real thing; some would prefer Bill Simmons’ takes while some like to be educated about the history of the NBA.

Whatever you want to choose, make sure that you’d go for something inspirational and something that helps you be a better person. If you (or your kid) have aspirations to be a professional basketball player, basketball biography books may be a good idea. If you want something inspiring, Shoot Your Shot and The Miracle of St. Anthony may be your cup of tea. Whatever the case may be, opting for a basketball book that suits your needs could change your life for the better.

FAQ on Best Basketball Books for Teens

Are You Looking for a Training Book in Basketball?

If you are, our choices for the best basketball books for teens do not include straight-up training books. They are more like inspirational books, which give lessons that you may apply in basketball and daily life. You can probably find a basketball training regimen on YouTube, but you are more likely to find life-changing words and experiences in these books that we recommend.

What Basketball Books Do We Recommend for 10-14 Year-Olds?

Generally, kids at that age range would like something quick to read, so Clayton Geoffrys’

Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball's Greatest Shooting Guards is an excellent way to start. It is only 59 pages long, so if the kid really does like his basketball, he will devour it in no time. Another good suggestion for the younger teen demographic is Boy21. It is a fictional story about a teenager named Finley and has quite a unique plot.

What Books on Basketball Do We Recommend for Girls?

Matthew Quick’s Boy21 has a strong female teen character, which may be more relatable to girls. And since teenage girls are into much deeper inspirational stuff than their male peers, they may more likely appreciate the impeccability of Halberstram’s Breaks of the Game. That being said, any older teen, especially if he/she is into basketball, will likely appreciate The Breaks of the Game and The Book of Basketball.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Basketball Books for Teens

In closing, here are the best basketball books for teens we looked at today:

Our Top Favorite
The Breaks of the Game
Our Top Runner Up
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball's Most Improbable Dynasty
Our Top Value Pick
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
Book Title
The Breaks of the Game
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable Dynasty
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
The Breaks of the Game
Book Title
The Breaks of the Game
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball's Most Improbable Dynasty
Book Title
The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable Dynasty
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
Book Title
Shoot Your Shot: A Sport-Inspired Guide To Living Your Best Life
Prime Eligible?

If you are a teen who is into basketball and wants to learn more about the game in a more cerebral manner, we certainly want to encourage you to read basketball books. Doing so will enhance your knowledge of the game and help you learn practical values that you can bring in the journey to life.

First in our most recommended basketball books for teens is David Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game. The attention to detail is second to none, and we love the fact that the team he chose to cover (the 1979-80 Portland Trail Blazers) wasn’t too mainstream. Another one that made it in our favorites is Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball. Although Simmons is as biased as they come, he backs up his crazy claims and statements, which makes the book very interesting.

In the runners-up list, two made the cut: The Miracle of St. Anthony and Boy21. The Miracle of St. Anthony is written by Adrian Wojnarowski, and while it is a very inspiring book, it appears that Woj is selling Bob Hurley to the readers perhaps a little too hard. Boy21 was also a fantastic book, but because it falls under fiction, we decided to put it under this list.

What we have in our value picks category are books that are not too hard to digest. Vernon Brundage, Jr.’s Shoot Your Shot, while very inspiring, is also hilarious. Clayton Geoffreys’ Kobe Bryant: The Inspiring Story of One of Basketball’s Greatest Shooting Guards is only 59 pages long, something that would not put off a teenager. The latter does not offer an inside look at Bryant’s personal life, so temper your expectations in that regard. Regardless, we feel that with these six recommendations, we have a well-rounded lineup of the best basketball books for teens at our disposal.

Did you find this post helpful? Then you may also like our post on the best basketball books for kids.

 

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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