And so what began as a brief gig in 1980 became a deep and lasting relationship with NPR's listeners. Each week, he would voice opinions both creative and controversial, references to Shakespeare and scathing takedowns — not just of commissioners but even occasionally entire sports, as some ice hockey and soccer fans may still remind you.
His body of work on NPR — as well as in Sports Illustrated, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and 20 books of his own — earned him not just listeners' loyalty but his profession's and the nation's highest honors, too: an induction into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame in 1998, and a National Humanities Medal in 2013.
He was the first sportswriter to win that medal.
"A dedicated writer and storyteller, Mr. Deford has offered a consistent, compelling voice in print and on radio, reaching beyond scores and statistics to reveal the humanity woven into the games we love," President Barack Obama said of Deford in a statement at the time.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
RIP Frank Deford
He was one of the great sportswriters of his generation, but he was much more than that. Frank Deford also provided more than a thousand commentaries to NPR. He passed away this weekend at the age of 79. NPR eulogized him yesterday...