Sports Illustrated’s Scientific Test

Sports Illustrated published a series of pieces on whether certain activities should be considered sports and in the March 19, 2001, issue, they addressed bass fishing:

Sport? Not A Sport?

This Week: Tournament Bass Fishing

SPORT “Just as in golf, you need technique, concentration and focus.”
—Annika Sorenstam, golfer

NOT A SPORT “A guy sitting in a boat? I don’t think so.”
—Brad Faxon, golfer

SPORT “Bass are smart and quick. You know you’re in for a battle. The competition makes it a sport.”
—Dusty Baker, Giants manager

NOT A SPORT “you have sonar and all sorts of technical assistance to find the fish. Is that a sport?”
—Glen Sather,
New York Rangers general manager

SPORT “A lot of skill is needed. There’s hardly any luck involved.”
—Richie Sexson, Brewers first baseman

NOT A SPORT “I’ve fished with professional fisherman, and they couldn’t run across the court without passing out.”
—Monty Williams, Magic forward

SPORT “It’s a sport when you’re reeling them in. When you’re not, it’s called an off day.”
—Will Clark, former major leaguer

NOT A SPORT” They don’t have jerseys, man. To play a sport, you have to wear a jersey.”
—Terrell Davis, Broncos running back

SPORT “I only play sports games on my PlayStation, and I play Bass Fishing. So it’s a sports”
—Troy Nunes,
Syracuse QB


By 2006 Terrell Davis might’ve reconsidered his position, since dye-sublimated jerseys quickly became all the rage.


  • Jeff Hahn

    The “Not a Sport” people’s comments (and even some of the “Sport” comments) are priceless! Many of these people have no more of an idea than the man in the moon what real tournament bass fishing is all about.

    • Lol Jeff. I had the same thoughts!

  • Why do so many confuse SPORT with ATHLETIC ENDEAVOR and/or competition? Nothing to do with tourneys at all. FISHING and hunting were sports long before there was an NFL, NBA and MLB. The idea that it can’t be a sport because you don’t have to be an athlete to partake in it is ludicrous. Sports and athletics have always been different things. Hey, I wrote a newspaper outdoors column for 25 years. You could always find it in the SPORTS PAGES.

    • I agree with you Rich. It’s been a sport forever. Just ask Zane Gray and Hemmingway! Its was called sportfishing 100 years ago.

  • fish_food

    You guys need to check out “Man’s Favorite Sport?” starring Rock Hudson and Paula Prentiss!

    • LOL. Rock looks distracted. I bet he has something else on his mind.

  • I used to have an old fishing partner (now deceased) who had a simple criteria for this great question. If you can specifically quantify actual points or numbers (“score”) based on something you directly do, and not something someone else thinks you do (judging), then it’s a sport. So things like tournament fishing (weight), weight lifting (weight), baseball, football, basketball and hockey (points), track (time), darts/archery (points), golf, tennis, etc. are all sports. On the other hand, things like diving, ice skating, water ballet, and “dancing with the stars” are not sports.

    Gets kind of fun thinking of all the various “activites” that do or don’t qualify under his system 🙂 We wold figure them all out on the drive to and from tourneys.


    • That’s an interesting way to look at it Brian.