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Ken Rappoport (1935–) Biography

Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1935, in Brooklyn, NY; Education: Rider College, B.S., 1956. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Photography, cooking, travel.


Journalist and author. Dorf Feature Service, Newark, NJ, feature writer and reporter, 1960–61; Doylestown Intelligencer, Doylestown, PA, reporter, 1961–63; Associated Press, reporter in Philadelphia, PA, 1963–69, sports writer in New York, NY, 1969–99; freelance writer. Military service: U.S. Army, 1958–60, served in Germany; became private first class.


Professional Hockey Writers Association, Baseball Writers Association of America.

Honors Awards

Sports Digest Best Story of the Month designation, November, 1973; second-place award, Writer's Digest National Writing Competition, 1991; Books for the Teen Age citation, New York Public Library, 1993, for Bobby Bonilla, and 1994, for Shaquille O'Neal; Voice of Youth Advocates honor list, 1996, for Grant Hill; New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age designation, 1997, for Guts and Glory; Sugarman Children's Biography Award nominee, 2005, for Ladies First.



The Nittany Lions: A Story of Penn State Football, Strode, 1973, revised edition, 1979.

The Trojans: A Story of Southern California Football, Strode, 1974.

The Syracuse Football Story, Strode, 1975.

Wake up the Echoes: Notre Dame Football, Strode, 1975, revised edition, 1979.

Tar Heel: North Carolina Football, Strode, 1976.

Tar Heel: North Carolina Basketball, Strode, 1976, revised edition, 1979.

Great College Football Rivalries, Grosset (New York, NY), 1978.

The Classic: The History of the NCAA Basketball Playoffs, National Collegiate Athletic Association-Lowell Press, 1979.

Diamonds in the Rough, Grosset (New York, NY), 1979.

Super Sundays, Grosset (New York, NY), 1980.

Pigskin Power, Grosset (New York, NY), 1981.

Doubleheader: Yankees and Dodgers, Grosset (New York, NY), 1982.

Football's Special Teams: Cowboys and Raiders, Grosset (New York, NY), 1982.

Nolan Ryan: The Ryan Express, Dillon Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1992.

Bobby Bonilla, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1993.

Shaquille O'Neal, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1994.

Top Ten Basketball Legends, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 1995.

Sports Great Wayne Gretzky, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 1996.

Grant Hill, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1996.

Sports Great Eric Lindros, Enslow (Springfield, NJ), 1997.

Guts and Glory: Making It in the NBA, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1997.

Mario Lemieux: Star Center, Enslow (Springfield, NJ), 1998.

(With Barry Wilner) They Changed the Game: Sports Pioneers of the Twentieth Century, Andrews-McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1999.

Scottie Pippen: Star Forward, Enslow (Springfield, NJ), 1999.

(With Barry Wilner) Girls Rule!: The Glory and Spirit of Women in Sports, foreword by Billie Jean King, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2000.

Tim Duncan: Star Forward, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2000.

(With Barry Wilner) Villains: The Bad Boys and Girls of Sports, Stark Books (Kansas City, MO), 2000.

Super Sports Star Penny Hardaway, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2001.

Tales from the Tar Heel Locker Room, Sports Publishing, 2002.

Super Sports Star Glen Rice, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2002.

Sheryl Swoopes, Star Forward, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2002.

Super Sports Star Peyton Manning, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2003.

Tales from Penn State Football, Sports Publishing, 2003.

Super Sports Star Jerome Bettis, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2003.

Super Sports Star Derek Jeter, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.

Jason Kidd: Leader on the Court, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.

Super Sports Star Alex Rodriguez, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.

Super Sports Star Ichiro Suzuki, Enslow (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2004.

Ladies First: Women Athletes Who Made a Difference, Peachtree (Atlanta, GA), 2005.

(With Barry Wilner) Gridiron Glory: The Story of the Army-Navy Football Rivalry, Taylor Trade Publishing (Lanham, MD), 2005.

Penn State: Where Have You Gone?, Sports Publishing (Champaign, IL), 2005.

Profiles in Sports Courage, Peachtree (Atlanta, GA), 2006.

Contributor to books, including A Century of Sports, edited by Will Grimsley, Associated Press, 1971; The Sports Immortals, edited by Grimsley, Prentice-Hall, 1972; The World in 1974, edited by Tom Hoge, Associated Press; A Century of Champions, edited by Ben Olan, Associated Press, 1976; Football's Fifty Greatest Games, Bobbs-Merrill, 1983; and 101 Greatest Athletes of the Century, Bonanza Books, 1987. Contributor to national sports journals, Saturday Evening Post, and USA Today.


Long-time journalist Ken Rappoport spent many years on the sidelines as a sports reporter for the Associated Press. He covered professional sports for over three decades, following the teams, coaches, players, and plays in football, basketball, hockey, and baseball, from season opener to nail-biting playoff. In more recent years he has channeled his vast knowledge of professional sports into a number of books for children and adults, from player profiles that include Sheryl Swoopes, Star Forward, Super Sports Star Glen Rice, and Top Ten Basketball Legends to broader sports-related books such as Profiles in Sports Courage, Ladies First: Women Athletes Who Made a Difference, and Gridiron Glory: The Story of the Army-Navy Football Rivalry.

In Ladies First Rappoport profiles twelve of the top twentieth-century women athletes, including four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher, African-American tennis pro Althea Gibson, and champion American swimmer Gertrude Ederle, in what School Library Journal contributor Janice C. Hayes described as a "lively" prose that results in an "entertaining and easy read." A collaboration with fellow writer Barry Wilner, Gridiron Glory presents a history as well as a profile of the best players to appear on the field during one of the country's most widely followed football face-offs: the Army-Navy rivalry. In the 240-page sports history, the coauthors "compellingly portray the pathos and irony" that players have invested in the team competition since it started back in 1890, according to Wes Lukowsky in Booklist. Commenting on Rappoport's skill as a biographer, Booklist contributor Julie Corsaro noted that in Grant Hill the author writes in "smart, energetic prose" and "never talks down to his audience," while Shelley Townsend-Hudson wrote in the same periodical that Rappoport's "readable style" in Guts and Glory: Making It in the NBA brings to life each athlete's "dedica-Joining the newly formed Women's National Basketball Association along with Rebecca Lobo (left) is one of the many achievements made by Sheryl Swoopes (right) and outlined in Rappaport's 2002 biography. (Photograph from Sheryl Swoopes, Star Forward.)tion and perseverance" in the face of sometimes intimidating obstacles.

Rappoport once told SATA: "This may sound corny, but I believe I was born to be a writer. Nothing I have ever done in my life has ever given me this kind of satisfaction—particularly in the area of books. I love the idea of putting a book together, watching it grow day by day from a seed. The work itself is the most important thing—from original idea, library research, interviews, writing, rewriting, to finished product. I could no less stop writing than stop breathing. I have combined my love of writing with my love of sports, and most of my work feeds off my career as a sportswriter with the Associated Press in New York. My only object is to become a better writer with each project. It goes without saying that there is great satisfaction in knowing I have made a contribution to our society and will leave something lasting for future generations.

"My advice to aspiring writers is: Always follow your dream."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, January 1, 1997, Julie Corsaro, review of Grant Hill, p. 840; August, 1997, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Guts and Glory: Making It in the NBA, p. 1895; October 15, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Super Sports Star Penny Hardaway, p. 420; Septem-The accomplishments of a host of women within sports ranging from competitive distance swimming and organized basketball to the grueling Iditarod dogsled race are the subject of Rappaport's inspiring 2005 book. (Cover design by Melanie McMahon Ives.)ber 1, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of Sheryl Swoopes, p. 130; November 1, 2005, Wes Lukowsky, review of Gridiron Glory: The Story of the Army-Navy Football Rivalry, p. 12.

School Library Journal, January, 1997, Tom S. Hurlburt, review of Grant Hill, p. 133; July, 1997, Tom S. Hurlburt, review of Guts and Glory, p. 111; June, 2005, Janice C. Hayes, review of Ladies First: Women Athletes Who Made a Difference, p. 185.

Sentinel (East Brunswick, NJ), November 14, 2002, Dick Metzgar, "Pair Merges Artwork for Local Library," p. 1.

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