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Best Basketball Books for Teenagers: Inspiration to Improve Your Game

ByQueen Ballers Club|@queenballers| December 24, 2022If you buy something from a link on our site, Queen Ballers Club may earn a commission.
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Improve your game and your knowledge today! We love reading and we love basketball, so sharing the best basketball books for young adults and teenagers is a must. As former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal said, “Education is something that nobody can take away from you. It’s the one thing that you can keep forever.”

We’ve included books about NBA players and pro women hoopers that inspire and help you learn from the best, books to help young adult athletes build good habits, smart strategies, and a strong mental game, and even some books just for fun and the love of the sport to help you stay motivated. Whether you’re looking for a thoughtful gift or just a great read for yourself, you’ll find just the basketball book you need.

Discover the best basketball books for young adults & teenagers

Reading books about basketball can be a valuable and rewarding activity for teenagers who play the sport, and can help them improve their skills, motivation, and overall well-being.

We’ve read all of the books on this list, and all of them are published by major publishing houses because we’ve found books tend to be better fact checked that way. We made one exception on the list with an independently published book, however the concepts in that particular book are so helpful and we’ve seen them deliver such a huge improvement to our own game and skill level, despite the book’s typos, we just had to include it. Let’s get after it!

1. Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA Champion by Mirin Fader

Anything by Bleacher Report, The Athletic, and The New York Times writer, Mirin Fader, is a must read, and this book accessible and engaging book will help young hoopers learn more about the game, as well as improve their own skills. This book is about the career and rise to superstardom of Milwaukee Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo. The book chronicles Giannis’s journey from his childhood in Greece to his emergence as one of the most dominant players in the NBA. It explores NBA Champion Giannis’ unique skillset and leadership style, and explains how he has helped lead the Bucks to the top of the league. It also delves into the personal and family struggles that Giannis has faced along the way, and how they have shaped his perspective and drive to succeed. Over 1,000 readers have rated it a 4.8/5.

Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA Champion by Mirin Fader

Why it’s a great fit for teenage basketball players: It offers insight into the career and mindset of one of the most dominant players in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo has emerged as a leader on and off the court, and reading about his journey and the challenges he has faced can be inspiring and instructive for young basketball players. Also the book covers a range of topics that are relevant to basketball players, including skill development, teamwork, leadership, and mental toughness. Reading about how Giannis has honed his skills and navigated the demands of the NBA can offer valuable lessons and perspective for players looking to improve their own game.

Best for: Inspiration! Reading about the experiences and achievements of other basketball players, particularly those who faced challenges and setbacks, can be inspiring and motivating for teenagers who play basketball. It can help them see what is possible and give them the drive to work hard and pursue their goals.

2. The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow

This is a book by Jim Afremow, who has a background in psychology and has worked as a mental skills coach for various sports teams, including the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, that explores the mental and emotional factors that contribute to success in sports and other high-performance environments. The book offers practical advice and strategies for developing a “champion’s mind” and achieving peak performance. Jim uses examples from a variety of sports, including basketball, to illustrate the principles and techniques he discusses. The book is aimed at athletes and coaches, but is also suitable for a general audience interested in peak performance and the mental and emotional aspects of sports. “The Champion’s Mind” has been widely praised for its practical and actionable advice, and has become a popular resource for athletes and coaches looking to improve their performance and mindset.

The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow

Why it’s a great fit for teenage basketball players: This book offers practical and actionable advice on how to develop a “champion’s mind” and achieve peak performance. Reading the book can help a basketball player understand more about the mental and emotional aspects of their sport, and how they can use these to their advantage – including visualization, setting goals, and much more.

Best for: Mental and emotional development. Reading books about basketball can also help teenagers develop important mental and emotional skills, such as focus, discipline, and resilience. These skills can be important not just for basketball, but for other areas of their lives as well.

3. Atomic Habits by James Clear

This is a book by James Clear, who has a background in psychology, that explores the concept of habits and how they shape our lives. The book argues that small, incremental changes to our habits can lead to significant and lasting improvements in our lives. James offers practical strategies for building and maintaining good habits, and for breaking bad ones. He also discusses the role of systems, environment, and identity in shaping our habits, and how we can use these factors to our advantage. “Atomic Habits” has been widely praised for its practical and actionable advice, and has become a popular resource for individuals and organizations looking to improve their performance and productivity. James even shares a good amount of the wisdom from the book on his social media, which is worth a follow whether you decide to get the book or not.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Why it’s a great fit for young adult basketball players: This book offers practical and actionable advice on how to build and maintain good habits, and how to break bad ones. Habits are a crucial factor in a basketball player’s performance and success, and learning how to form and sustain good habits can be an important part of their development as a player. The book’s focus on small, incremental changes and the role of systems, environment, and identity in shaping habits can be particularly relevant for basketball players, who may need to make changes to their training, nutrition, and other habits in order to improve their game.

Best for: Mental and emotional development.

4. Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness by Steve Magness

While this is often recommended as a read for parents and coaches, it’s great insight for players who like to understand and fuel their development as well. This book, rated a 4.6/5 by over 500 readers, explores the concept of resilience and how it can be developed and applied in various settings. The book argues that resilience is not an inherent trait, but rather a skill that can be learned and cultivated. Steve, who has a background in sports science and performance, offers practical strategies for building resilience, and discusses the role of challenge, stress, and adversity in resilience development. He also discusses the importance of purpose and meaning in building resilience, and how these can help individuals and organizations navigate difficult times and achieve their goals.

Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness by Steve Magness

Why it’s a great fit for young adult basketball players: Resilience is a crucial factor in the success of any athlete, and learning how to develop and apply it can be an important part of a basketball player’s development. The book’s focus on the role of challenge, stress, and adversity in resilience development, as well as the importance of purpose and meaning, can be particularly relevant for basketball players, who may face a range of challenges and setbacks in their careers. Reading “Do Hard Things” can help a basketball player understand more about how resilience works and how they can use it to their advantage.

Best for: Mental and emotional development.

5. How We Learn to Move by Rob Gray

This book by Rob Gray, who has a Ph.D. in sport and exercise science and is a professor at Arizona State University, explores the ways in which human movement is learned and developed. The book covers a wide range of topics, including the neuroscience of movement, the role of practice and repetition, and the importance of play and creativity in movement learning. Rob uses examples from a variety of fields, including sports, dance, and everyday activities, to illustrate the principles of movement learning and to offer insights into how basketball players can improve their own movement skills. The book is written in an accessible and engaging style, that young adults will enjoy.

How We Learn to Move by Rob Gray

Why it’s a great fit for teenage basketball players: The book covers a wide range of topics that are relevant to basketball players, including the role of practice and repetition, the importance of play and creativity, and the neuroscience of movement. Reading the book can help teenagers understand more about how their body and brain work together to learn and perform movement skills, and can also provide insight into how they can improve their own movement skills at a prime time for development.

Best for: Improving knowledge and understanding. Reading books about basketball and performance training can help teenagers learn more about strategies, and techniques. This can in turn help them become better players and more confident in their skills.

6. Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated by Shea Serrano

OK time for a fun one! This book takes a unique and humorous approach to exploring the world of basketball. Writer from the New York Times, The Ringer, and GQ, Shea Serrano has organized the book around a series of questions, such as “What is the greatest dunk of all time?” and “Who would win a game of one-on-one between Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal?” Serrano answers these questions with wit and insight, drawing on his own experiences and observations as a basketball fan and writer. The book also includes illustrations by Arturo Torres and is designed to be both entertaining and thought-provoking for basketball fans of all levels of knowledge and expertise.

Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions Asked, Answered, Illustrated

Why it’s a great fit for young adult basketball players: Reading the book can help a basketball player learn more about the history and culture of the game, and can also provide a fun and enjoyable way to expand their knowledge and appreciation of the sport.

Best for: Broadening horizons. Reading about basketball can also expose teenagers to new ideas and perspectives, and help them understand more about the history and culture of the sport. This can broaden their horizons and enrich their understanding of the world around them.

7. Inaugural Ballers: The True Story of the First US Women’s Olympic Basketball Team by Andrew Maraniss

This is a book by The New York Times bestselling author, contributor to ESPN’s TheUndefeated, and visiting author at the Vanderbilt University Athletic Department, Andrew Maraniss, that tells the story of the first US women’s Olympic basketball team, which competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The book chronicles the team’s journey to the Olympics, including the challenges and obstacles they faced, and the impact they had on the sport of women’s basketball. The book also explores the social and cultural context of the time, and how the team’s success was a reflection of the changing attitudes towards women in sports. “Inaugural Ballers” is a compelling and inspiring story of determination, perseverance, and achievement.

Inaugural Ballers: The True Story of the First US Women's Olympic Basketball Team

Why it’s a great fit for young adult basketball players: Reading this book can be particularly inspiring for young basketball players, as it shows how hard work, determination, and perseverance can pay off. The book also provides a historical perspective on the evolution of women’s basketball, and can help a basketball player understand more about the sport’s past and how it has changed over time.

Best for: Broadening horizons and inspiration. This book is also on our list of the best women’s basketball books.

Bonus: The Inner Game of Tennis By W. Timothy Gallwey

OK so this is obviously not a basketball book. But nothing of its kind exists for basketball yet, and so much of it is applicable to our sport. It’s actually really important to experiment with all sorts of sports and disciplines so you can learn new things and apply them to your basketball training. As Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”

As just one example, the late Kobe Bryant of Los Angeles Lakers fame, took up tap dancing one summer. Tap dancing, wrote Kobe, would build his ankle strength while improving his foot speed and rhythm. Kobe hired an instructor and started going into a studio. “I worked on it all of that summer and benefited for the rest of my career,” Kobe wrote.

Back to this is book: This book by W. Timothy Gallwey explores the mental and emotional aspects of sports and performance. The book argues that many of the challenges and obstacles that athletes face are not external, but rather internal, and that by addressing these internal barriers, athletes can improve their performance and enjoyment of their sport. The sport of tennis is used as a backdrop for the discussion, but the principles and techniques the author discusses are applicable to a wide range of sports and activities. “The Inner Game of Tennis” has been widely praised for its practical and actionable advice, and has become a popular resource for athletes and coaches looking to improve their performance and enjoyment of their sport.

Why it’s a great fit for teenage basketball players: Basketball players may face a range of mental and emotional challenges in their sport, and this book provides practical tools and frameworks for overcoming them. If you get angry at yourself every time you make “a mistake” or you’re trying super hard but not achieving the performance result you want, this book is a must read.

Best for: Mental and emotional development, and improving knowledge and understanding.

Enjoy the best basketball books for young adults

Now you have a few good reads to tackle this year. Reading books about basketball can help teenagers learn more about the sport and themselves. We hope these reads will help you discover the history and culture of basketball, expand your horizons and understanding of the game, and become a better player and a more well-rounded person. Up next, check out the best basketball gifts if you’re still looking for that perfect gift, or if you’re ready to get to work discover fun ways to improve your weak hand.

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