Gary Smith

Gary Smith

Gary Smith has won four National Magazine Awards—the highest honor a magazine writer can earn—and his stories have appeared in the annual Best American Sportswriting anthologies 13 times, the most by any writer. The late David Halberstam selected Smith’s 1996 profile of Tiger Woods for the Best American Sportswriting of the Century.

Slate Magazine called Smith “not only the best sportswriter in America, he's the best magazine writer in America.” A 2006 survey of Associated Press sports editors selected him as the country’s top sportswriter. Two books have been published featuring his collected works: Beyond the Game: The Collected Sportswriting of Gary Smith and Going Deep: 20 Classic Sports Stories.

Smith began writing for SI in 1982. Before that he wrote for the Wilmington News-Journal, the Philadelphia Daily News, New York’s Daily News  and Inside Sports. His writing has also appeared in Rolling Stone, LIFE, Esquire and the Washington Post Sunday Magazine.

A Lewes, Del., native and one of nine children in his family, Smith graduated from La Salle University with a degree in English.

Top Stories

All Gary Smith Stories

May 03, 2004

Code of Honor

Pat Tillman gave up NFL riches to fight, and die, in Afghanistan.

Sept. 11, 2006

Remember His Name

Even as a boy Pat Tillman felt a destiny, a need to do the right thing whatever it cost him. When the World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11, he thought about what he had to do and then walked away from the NFL and became an Army Ranger ...

Oct. 03, 2011

"We're in Baseball Heaven"

For Phillies Nation, every game has felt like October since Cliff Lee's return. Now an ever-growing fan base wonders: Is it still O.K. to boo?

Dec. 23, 1985

Now, More Than Ever, A Winner

For 20 years of enduring excellence and a championship season that ranks among his greatest, SI honors Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the traditional amphora given the Sportsman of the Year

Feb. 12, 1996

True Lies

All along, Magic Johnson insisted he wasn't coming back. Was he kidding us, his family—or himself?

March 05, 2001

Higher Education

In the unlikeliest of places—Ohio's Amish country—a high school basketball coach changed a community's ideas about race, and about life

Feb. 18, 1991

Shadow Of A Nation

The Crows, once proud warriors, now seek glory—but often find tragedy—in basketball

June 15, 1992

A Few Pieces of Silver

Robbed of gold medals in Munich, the '72 U.S. Olympic basketball team will not betray its principles for...

June 24, 1996

Crime and Punishment

After high school star Richie Parker was convicted of sexual abuse, those who tried to salvage—and savage—his basketball career were scarred by their experience

April 12, 1999

No Man Is An Island

That's what David Duval finally learned after a childhood tragedy led him to shut out the world and drive himself to become the best golfer in the game

Dec. 23, 1996

The Chosen One

Tiger Woods was raised to believe that his destiny is not only to be the greatest golfer ever but also to change the world. Will the pressures of celebrity grind him down first?

Jan. 11, 1993

As Time Runs Out

Gravely ill with cancer, Jim Valvano is fighting for his life the same way he coached basketball, by learning all he can, talking up a storm and insisting on the last shot

March 02, 1998

Eyes Of The Storm

When Tennessee's whirlwind of a coach, Pat Summitt, hits you with her steely gaze, you get a dose of the intensity that has carried the Lady Vols to five NCAA titles

Nov. 03, 1997



BEN CRENSHAW: Good thing they don't have playoffs in Ryder Cupmatches. Our new captain is 0-8 in overtime. --QUESTION: With all the ...

Aug. 18, 1997



TIGRESS WOODS: According to Tiger, "The answer is, no, I don'thave a girlfriend ." IMG: Its clients have won half of the events on all of ...

May 19, 1997



JOHN DALY: He's out of rehab, out a sponsor and out offashion. Here's hoping he's back in control. COREY PAVIN: No whining, ...

April 17, 2006

Blood Relations

Sportswriter Sam Kellerman might have gone even further than his older brother, HBO analyst Max Kellerman, if his generosity to an old boxing friend hadn't led to murder

May 12, 1997



HALE IRWIN: Last week, after he had won for the fourth time thisyear, we wondered if anyone could beat him. On Sunday, when heshot 75 in ...