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Trends, Recommended Reads

9 audiobooks to listen to if you’re a fan of sports podcasts


Mar 21, 2024

Many sports fans, myself included, want the game to be more than just the hours we spend watching the actual event. We want to read articles about the trade that just happened, watch commentary of who’s going to win the Final Four, talk around the water cooler at work about that call by the refs, and listen to our favorite podcasters do the same things.

For those who love podcasts, audiobooks are a great way to go deeper and immerse yourself in history and story. So to go along with some of the sports podcasts you might already be streaming, try one of these audiobooks for even more in-depth coverage. Download these audiobooks for free with just your library card in the Libby app, wave that checkered flag, and go!

If you listen to “ESPN Daily”

Those Guys Have All the FunThose Guys Have All the Fun by James Andrew Miller, Tom Shales, Matt McCarthy & Joan Baker

While this audiobook came out more than a decade ago, and ESPN is much different than it was then, this is a classic in the genre for a reason. The history hasn’t changed, and you can’t miss the chance to hear the story of how the channel was made and how it became a powerhouse, as told by the men and women who were there. As an added bonus, this audiobook has multiple narrators, so it has that podcast-like feel.

If this audiobook doesn’t make you look up 2000s era SportsCenter commercials on YouTube, I don’t know what will.

If you listen to “New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce”

InseparableInseparable by Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin

Being from Cleveland, I legally must mention that the Kelce brothers are also from Cleveland. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to introduce you to the Griffin brothers, not the only pair of talented brothers in the NFL, but perhaps ones with the best story of overcoming adversity to achieve your dreams. Shaquem and Shaquill are twins, but Shaquem was born with amniotic band syndrome, which prevented his fingers from fully developing causing extreme pain, ultimately leading to his hand being amputated when he was a child. He didn’t let that slow him down, and listeners will be inspired by the story of how he and his brother both ended up in the NFL.

This audiobook will make you understand the depth of human potential.

If you listen to “The Bill Simmons Podcast”

When the Game Was WarWhen the Game Was War by Rich Cohen

Anyone who has spent any time listening to/reading Bill Simmons knows of his deep, eternal love for Boston sports, especially the Celtics. I’ve been listening to him talk about how great they are since I was reading The Sports Guy, then Grantland... and I might be showing my age with that a bit! So, if you want to dig deeper into not only the Celtics, but also their rivalry with the Lakers and the rise of another player some of you may know, Michael Jordan, along with the subject of my favorite 30 for 30, the Detroit Pistons. This book captures a snapshot of a pivotal time in the NBA’s history, and it will be of interest for all basketball fans, regardless of your team allegiances.

And speaking of 30 for 30...

If you listen to “30 for 30”

The Big TimeThe Big Time by Michael MacCambridge

So, you like sports and you like history. The "30 for 30" podcast will dish that up for you, but if you’re looking for a deep dive like they’ll do, be sure to check out The Big Time. This book highlights the 1970s in America and outlines how the entire decade was monumental in changing the way we play and experience sports. From making watching sports a prime-time event to the advent of the athlete as a public figure and the increase in popularity of women’s sports, the 1970s was more impactful for sports than we’ve ever realized.

This audiobook will fly by as you discover how truly transformative that decade was and how it still affects how we experience sports.

If you listen to “Men in Blazers”

Among the ThugsAmong the Thugs by Bill Buford

A team is only as good as its fans, and anyone who knows even the barest bit about football in the U.K. (like me, where everything I know about non-U.S. football, I learned from Ted Lasso) their fans are beyond belief. If you’re a soccer/football fan, you’ll want to learn more about these people who take fandom to the next level, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Bill Buford immersed himself in different football club’s fans to get an inside look into who these people are and to what extremes they’ll go to celebrate and mourn for their teams wins and losses.

If you also love true crime podcasts, this audiobook is a must-listen.

If you listen to “The Mina Kimes Show ft. Lenny”

Hail MaryHail Mary by Frankie de la Cretaz and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo

Somehow, I find myself with another Cleveland-centric book, but I promise it was just kismet. Did you know that there once was a 19-city professional women’s football league? In the late 1960s, a Cleveland-based entrepreneur founded the National Women’s Football League hoping to have a spectacle, like the Harlem Globetrotters, but ended up with a group of players who wanted to play well and win it all. For two decades, the best of the best in women’s football hit the gridirons from coast to coast, and they changed both the game and the way we look at women in sports.

The authors go into great detail in this audiobook, and it will satisfy fans of football and women’s sports alike.

If you listen to “Pardon My Take”

Don't Put Me In, CoachDon’t Put Me In, Coach by Mark Titus

Sometimes, you need an audiobook that’s going to make you laugh, just like the hosts of “Pardon My Take” will. In this case, look no further than Mark Titus’ memoir of his time becoming a record-breaking college basketball player at Ohio State, including making it to the 2007 National Championship game. He played with many people who would go on to play in the NBA, while setting a record for individual wins. However, during all of this elite play, he scored a total of 9 points for the Buckeyes. Hear his story of his college career and get great insight into the NCAA, all while having a good chuckle!

The author has his own podcast, “The Mark Titus Show,” so if you like his book, be sure to check it out, too.

If you listen to “Talkin’ Baseball”

The ArmThe Arm by Jeff Passan

My brother-in-law is baseball obsessed and I got this book for him for Christmas one year—and he actually read it! Go on a deep dive into the most valuable thing on a baseball diamond, the arm of the pitcher on the mound, and learn much more about the game and how it’s played and sustained. Jeff Passan went all around the globe to find out how trainers cultivate pitchers and how they treat the ever-growing number of injuries to athletes, with a highlight on Tommy John surgery.

Even if you don’t have a “countdown to opening day” app on your phone, this book will appeal to everyone who loves America’s pastime.

If you listen to “Fore Play”

Liv and Let DieLIV and Let Die by Alan Shipnuck

Let us start by taking a moment to revel in the glory that is this title’s golf pun. I’m kind of bummed out I never thought of “LIV” as “live,” but that’s for another day. Anyway, unless you’ve been living under a rock (or have no interest in sports news), you must be familiar with the newest golf league, the LIV, that is bleeding the PGA dry as golfers jump ship for bigger and better prizes with this upstart. Get a look behind the curtain as to what’s really happening on and off the green in this time of real upheaval for professional golf.

Pick a side when you pick up this audiobook!

*Title availability may vary by library & region.

RELATED READ: The baseball books every fan should read


About the Author

Meghan Volchko is a writer for Libby Life and a collection development librarian. Her English degree set her up perfectly for grad school, where she received her MLIS and has been immersed in the world of books ever since. You can find her reading with her cat, traveling with her friends and family, or chasing after her toddler. HEAs are life.


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