Frank Deford

Writer and commentator Frank Deford is the author of sixteen books. His latest novel, Bliss, Remembered, is a love story set at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and in World War II. Publishers Weekly calls it a "thought-provoking...and poignant story, utterly charming and enjoyable." Booklist says Bliss, Remembered is "beautifully written...elegantly constructed...writing that is genuinely inspiring."

On radio, Deford may be heard as a commentator every Wednesday on NPR's Morning Edition and, on television, he is the senior correspondent on the HBO show RealSports With Bryant Gumbel. In magazines, he is Senior Contributing Writer at Sports Illustrated.

Moreover, two of Deford's books — the novel Everybody's All-American and Alex: The Life Of A Child, his memoir about his daughter who died of cystic fibrosis — have been made into movies. Two of his original screenplays, Trading Hearts and Four Minutes, have also been filmed.

As a journalist, Deford has been elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. Six times Deford was voted by his peers as U.S. Sportswriter of The Year. The American Journalism Review has likewise cited him as the nation's finest sportswriter, and twice he was voted Magazine Writer of The Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

Deford has also been presented with the National Magazine Award for profiles, a Christopher Award, and journalism Honor Awards from the University of Missouri and Northeastern University, and he has received many honorary degrees. The Sporting News has described Deford as "the most influential sports voice among members of the print media," and the magazine GQ has called him, simply, "the world's greatest sportswriter."

In broadcast, Deford has won both an Emmy and a George Foster Peabody Award. ESPN presented a television biography of Deford's life and work, "You Write Better Than You Play." A popular lecturer, Deford has spoken at more than a hundred colleges, as well as at forums, conventions and on cruise ships around the world.

For sixteen years, Deford served as national chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and he remains chairman emeritus. Deford is a graduate of Princeton University, where he has taught in American Studies.



Tue August 9, 2011
Sweetness And Light

Thinking Back On Bubba Smith

Bubba Smith, who died last week, was a teammate of mine. I can see him giving me a stern, put-on sneer in response to that claim, and in truth, no, Bubba and I were not football teammates. Rather, we acted in an ensemble as Lite Beer All-Stars back when Miller used a lot of washed-up old athletes — and one overwhelmed sportswriter — to hustle what was then a popular new product: a low-calorie beer.

Remember? "Tastes great!" "Less filling!"

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Tue August 2, 2011
Sweetness And Light

NCAA: Still Stalled By 'Amateur Hour' Thinking

NCAA President Mark Emmert address the media during a press conference before the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center on March 17 in Washington, D.C.
Nick Laham Getty Images

Next week, at some place in Indianapolis where time has been instructed to stand still, Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, will convene what is being called, without irony, a "retreat."

Assembled will be about 50 college presidents, pledged, it seems, to make sure that college athletics continue to remain firmly in the past, in the antiquated amateur hours.

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Tue July 26, 2011
Sweetness And Light

When Owens Beat Hitler, And The Olympics Changed

Jesse Owens crosses the finish line in Berlin to win the 100-meter sprint, one of four events in which Owens won gold medals at the 1936 Olympics.
Keystone Getty Images

While of course nothing can approach the horror of the terrorist murders at the 1972 Olympics, it is now the 75th anniversary of what were surely the most fascinating and historically influential Games –– those in Berlin that began at this very time in the summer of '36. It was novelty, and glory, and evil — all in athletic conjunction as never before or since.

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Tue July 19, 2011
Sweetness And Light

Yankees' HOPE Week: Batting A Thousand

At last year's HOPE Week, pitcher Mariano Rivera warmed up with Jorge Grajales before the New York Yankees played the Detroit Tigers. Grajales threw out the game's first pitch.
Jim McIsaac Getty Images

Virtually all professional sports franchises make a point of aligning themselves in some ways with charities. From a cynical point of view, it's good public relations. But my experience is that the teams are genuine in their good works. And a funny thing often happens. Perhaps especially where children are involved, some of the athletes who initially look upon their involvement with a team's charity as drudgery — just more PR duty — end up being quite moved.

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Tue July 12, 2011
Sweetness And Light

New Winners Face Pressure To Be Brilliant. Again.

Rory McIlroy poses with his prize after winning the 2011 U.S. Open. Now, the pressure is on him to perform well in the British Open.
David Cannon Getty Images

Precocity is always in vogue in sports. Or anyway, the media love to cuddle up with precocity, to present us the next great thing. A new phenom can't merely be promising. No, he obviously must be the best there ever was.

And here comes Rory McIlroy now, winner of exactly three professional tournaments, a prefabricated legend, already being carried off to golf heaven.

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