The Greatest: SI's Gary Smith is retiring from magazine writing

Gary Smith (right) interviews George Foreman and Muhammad Ali for his 1984 SI story "After the Fall".
Courtesy of Gary Smith/SI

He pulled down his pants, sat on the toilet and put his head in his hands, heart hammering, each scream of the sirens. ...

Gary Smith in 1983.
Lane Stewart/SI

He had his misses. He had his critics. Some were uncomfortable with Smith's psychologizing -- though his subjects almost never claimed that he got them wrong -- and others wondered if the personal demons he detailed could explain an entire life's twists and turns. But that's a shallow reading; Smith, indeed, found trauma others missed. But there's a reason the question mark, not the period, is his distinctive grammatical tic. He pursued answers but was delighted to find them less than clear.

Richie Parker: Cover date, June 24, 1996
Jeffrey Lowe/SI

In 2008, Gary Smith published an anthology of some of his best work -- Going Deep: 20 Classic Sports Stories.

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