Sports books are not often given the credit they deserve. Complex themes are weaved in between the sports they are focused around, creating vivid, realistic stories. However, one should not underestimate this genre, because you’ll be missing out on some very good writing. Below are a few basketball books that will get any reader into the sports genre. All of these books are based on true stories, but there are also some great fictional basketball books. No matter which, the following are all worth a read.

The Assist by Neil Swidey

This book isn’t set in the pros. It isn’t even a story about basketball. It’s a story about how a team couldn’t communicate because its two best players were at each other’s throats. The book is filled with controversy, and the fact that these teenagers are basketball players is second to the questionable actions portrayed in the book; a great read for both sports and drama enthusiasts.

The Last Season by Phil Jackson

Any fan of Kobe Bryant should read this book. Written by Phil Jackson, it goes into detail about the rivalry between Zen and Kobe. It is unbelievable that the two of them were able to set rivalries aside considering what the two of them had gone through. Phil Jackson goes into detail with this and much more throughout the book.

Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made by David Halberstam

Michael Jordan is perhaps the greatest NBA player of all time, unless you’re a LeBron James fan, of course. Other books may be able to tell you about Jordan’s greatest moments in more extraordinary ways. However, Halberstam doesn’t pull any punches within the pages of Playing for Keeps. While reading this book, much can be learned about Jordan’s past. It shows the bad with the good. It goes into detail on how Jordan would belittle lesser teammates, but it also talks about how Jordan used his business savvy to elevate himself to super stardom; a look inside one of the sports world’s greats.

The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam

This book focuses on the Portland Trail Blazers of the late 1970s. You will learn about every single player from this era and how not one single player served as the star of the team. It is a fine outline of the entire team and all players and coaches involved. There is a reason David Halberstam is a Pulitzer Prize winner: he is a master writer and expert on basketball.

There are plenty of other great basketball books too. After you make your way through these, be sure to dive into more for a more well-rounded perspective on the sport as a whole.