Gary Smith (sportswriter)
Smith worked as a sportswriter for the Wilmington News-Journal, the Philadelphia Daily News, the New York Daily News, and Inside Sports before joining Sports Illustrated. His writing has also appeared in Time, Rolling Stone, and Esquire.
For many years, Smith's role as senior writer at Sports Illustrated has been to write four lengthy feature articles per year, most of which are in-depth personality profiles. His wife, Sally, has described his motivation as follows: "He is not satisfied with putting facts together. He wants to understand what is the core conflict that has driven that person. He hopes to tell a secret that a person might not be aware of." Several of Smith's subjects have attested to his profound insight.
Smith has received many awards and honors for his work at Sports Illustrated. He won the National Magazine Award for non-fiction, the magazine equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, a record four times and was a finalist for the award a record ten times. His stories have appeared in The Best American Sports Writing series a record 12 times. Some of his literary peers have called him "the best magazine writer in America" and "America's best sportswriter". He also has been cited as a role model by younger sportswriters.
Smith has published two books; both are collections of his magazine features:
- Beyond The Game: The Collected Sports Writing of Gary Smith, published in 2001.
- Sports Illustrated: Going Deep: 20 Classic Sports Stories, published in 2008.
Many of his Sports Illustrated articles are available for free online. Notable pieces include:
- "Shadow of a Nation", published in 1991, is about the struggles of Crow Indian basketball players. Smith won his first National Magazine Award (NMA) for this article.
- "As Time Runs Out", published in 1993, is about basketball coach Jim Valvano's battle with cancer.
- "One Tough Bird", published in 1995, is about boxer Roy Jones Jr.
- "True Lies", published in 1996, is about Magic Johnson's return to the Los Angeles Lakers as a player.
- "Crime and Punishment", published in 1996, is about a former high school basketball star convicted of sexual assault. Smith received another NMA for this article.
- "Someone to Lean On", published in 1996, is the inspiration for the 2003 film Radio.
- "The Chosen One", published in 1996, is about golfer Tiger Woods.
- "Damned Yankee", published in 1997, is about a former baseball player learning to cope with an accidental tragedy he had caused as a young child.
- "Moment Of Truth", published in 2000 allowed Smith to take home his fourth National Magazine award
- "Lying in Wait", published in 2002, is about disgraced football coach George O'Leary. Smith won his fourth NMA for this article.
- "Coming Into Focus", published in 2006, is about tennis player Andre Agassi.
- "Remember His Name", published in 2006, is about football player Pat Tillman, who resigned from the NFL, enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire.
- "Gareth Thomas... The Only Openly Gay Male Athlete", published in 2010, is a profile of Gareth Thomas, at the time the most-capped player in the history of the Wales national rugby union team (and later a Wales rugby league international as well), who in 2009 became the first known top-level male professional athlete in a team sport to come out as gay while still active.
- Broome, Spencer (March 10, 2009). "The Athletic Standard: Sports Illustrated’s Gary Smith of Charleston Profiles Big Game and Big Picture". Charleston Mercury. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
- Noah Davis (2008-09-17). "So What Do You Do, Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated Senior Writer?". mediabistro.com. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Sports Illustrated's Gary Smith Named College Of Charleston Distinguished Communicator For 2006
- Jon Friedman (2008-04-25). "Meet America's best magazine writer". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Richard Perez-Pena (2008-09-15). "The Sports Whisperer, Probing Psychic Wounds". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Ben Yagoda (2003-06-30). "How Gary Smith became America's best sportswriter". Slate. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- ESPN.com's Scoop Jackson cites Smith as a role model
- Baltimore Sun sportswriter Kevin Van Valkenburg cites Smith as his primary role model
- SI.com - Smith earns another National Magazine Award
- SI.com - Smith earns fourth National Magazine Award