Airdates | Wednesday, June 13
Hometown | Baltimore, MD
Why You (Should) Know Him
- For starters, he’s logged in 50 years with Sports Illustrated, where he is now the senior contributing writer. See this video clip on his thoughts of the evolution of sports writing.
- You can catch him on National Public Radio and on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel from time to time.
- According to his NPR profile, he’s been referred to as “the most influential sports voice among members of the print media” and “the world’s greatest sportswriter.”
Why He’s Buzzing | After such an illustrious career, he’s somehow managed to chronicle his life and fit it all into one book. That book, Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter, is now published and up for grabs.
- To date, Deford has been named Sportswriter of the Year a total of six times. He’s also been voted Magazine Writer of the Year by Washington Journalism Review.
- In 2012, he received the Red Smith Award. He’s the first magazine writer to be honored with the award.
- His novel Everybody’s All-American was named one of Sports Illustrated’s Top 25 Sports Books of All Time in 1981. It was also adapted for a film of the same title.
- For a time, Deford served as editor-in-chief of The National and wrote for Newsweek and Vanity Fair.
- He’s an advocate for the research and treatment of cystic fibrosis and served as chairman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for nearly 20 years; he’s still chairman emeritus. His daughter, Alex, was diagnosed with the illness and passed away at age 8. Deford honored her memory in the text Alex: The Life of a Child and, subsequently, a movie was made in 1986.
- He’s a member of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
- Even though he’s a sportswriter, most of his novels do not take place in the world of sports.
- Deford’s life and work are highlighted by ESPN’s “You Write Better Than You Play” documentary.
Selection of Awards and Accomplishments
1988 Emmy Award for his work as a writer during the Seoul Olympics
1994 CableACE for writing Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World, an HBO sports documentary
1999 National Magazine Award for Sports Illustrated article on Bill Russell
1999 Peabody Award for writer on Dare to Compete, an HBO documentary
Selected works (Bibliography)
1971 Five Strides on the Banked Track: The Life and Times of the Roller Derby
1981 Everybody’s All-American
1983 Alex: The Life of a Child
1993 Love and Infamy
2001 The Other Adonis: A Novel
2002 An American Summer: A Novel
2005 The Old Ball Game
2010 Bliss, Remembered
2012 Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter