Frank Deford: 'The World's Greatest Sports Writer'26:27

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The first chapter of Frank Deford's new memoir is titled, "A Not Very Bright Boy." A little self-depricating, perhaps, for the guy GQ magazine has called "the world's greatest sports writer."

Frank Deford (Bridgeport Public Library/flickr)
Frank Deford (Bridgeport Public Library/flickr)

Deford went to Princeton in the early 60s, where he was mediocre student. But attending the school gave him access to that "celebrated Old-Boy Network," and landed him a job with Time Inc. — at a relatively new magazine called Sports Illustrated. And so begins a remarkable sports-writing career.

Deford is well-known to NPR listeners for his weekly commentaries on Morning Edition, which are often funny and always full of strong opinions and insight. He's written eloquently about sports for 50 years and his stories aren't so much about the games as they are about the rich cast of characters who play them, coach them and love them.

It seems as though he's written about almost all of them — from Ted Williams and Bobby Orr to Muhammad Ali and Billie Jean King; from Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson to Don Budge and Arthur Ashe. He's the author of 18 books and his new memoir is called "Over Time: My Life As A Sportswriter."


  • Frank Deford, sports writer, author


This segment aired on May 17, 2012.