The Book of Basketball: the NBA according to the sports guy is an amazing read if you like the NBA.
If you are into sports or pop culture I highly recommend the ESPN offshoot website he has started called Grantland. You can find all kinds of writing and writers there. I challenge you to read Simmons' ode to his deceased dog "One final toss for The Dooze" and not tear up.
So where am I going with this? Recently Simmons' wrote an article about his favorite books as a kid, sports book by the author Alfred Slote. In particular, one title called Jake. Unfortunately, Sno-Isle doesn't own any of his books and it appears they are out of print.
As a librarian I loved his article. It really brought home the impact books can have on us and the loyalty it inspires. Read the article here.
Just to top things off, they made a mini-documentary about the Alfred Slote. One of ESPN's 30 for 30 Shorts. It is a real treat to listen to the author talk about his writing.