Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gifts for Guys, Part 2 (Sports)

In my last section, I talked about some great gifts for the video game player in your life. In this post, I'm going to give you some nice gift suggestions for the sports fan. I must give some credit to Bill Simmons (the ESPN "Sports Guy" Columnist) for some of these suggestions- he mentioned a few of them in a previous column (sadly, now available only to ESPN Insider subscribers).

What do you get a sports fan as a holiday gift? There are some things that come to mind that initially sound like good gifts. Tickets to a game could be nice, but that might also obligate you to actually go to the game with the recipient (unless you make it clear the gift is for him to attend with a friend). Also, for non-sports fans, it's often hard to tell whether you're getting a good deal or not, or whether you're even buying tickets to an event that the recipient would like.

So, there are definitely some more affordable and safer choices. I am a big fan of giving sports-related books, as they're affordable and it's hard to go wrong choosing one, as long as they come well-recommended. Here are a few excellent sports books that most sports fans will appreciate:

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization: This is a fun sports book masquerading as intelligent political commentary. Regardless, it's a fantastic book filled with great anecdotes about soccer fanaticism around the world, and how soccer and much of 20th Century history are intertwined.

Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero: This is a great book about one of the greatest (but most unpopular) athletes in history. Not a tough read, and a really great book to get for any sports fan.

Chocolate Thunder: The Uncensored Life and Time of Darryl Dawkins: This is a great (and extremely cheap) book for any basketball fan, filled with hilarious anecdotes about the NBA in the 1970's and 80's. It's certainly not a standalone gift, but is a nice throw-in or stocking stuffer.

Also, there are a few sports-related TV DVD sets which would make great gifts:

Playmakers - The Complete Series: This was an amazing TV series about a fictional pro football team that was a major hit on ESPN a few years back. According to some reports, the NFL successfully pressured ESPN to take it off the air (perhaps because it hit a bit too close to the mark).

The White Shadow - Season 1: The White Shadow was a great series about a white former NBA player coaching an inner-city high school basketball team, and comes highly-recommended from both myself and's Bill Simmons. I'd definitely recommend it for basketball fans.

As far as movies, there are plenty of excllent sports movies that would make great gifts, but one needs to be very careful, as most diehard sports fans will have seen most of the best sports movies. However, if you're going to opt for a movie, has an excellent ranking of the best sports movies ever made right here. You can be assured that virtually any of these 20 great films would make a great gift.

Anyway, best of luck on finding a great gift for the sports fan in your life. Feel free to post any comments and questions- I'd be happy to offer more guy gift advice.

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