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30 May 2017, 06:30 | Conrad Doyle
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Frank Deford, the renowned sportswriter and commentator, has died.
Deford retired on May 3 with 1,656 commentaries for NPR.
Frank Deford, who cultivated a distinct style of sports journalism at Sports Illustrated and National Public Radio, had died.
"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", Obama said at the ceremony. Until his recent retirement after 37 years, Deford had been a weekly fixture on NPR's Morning Edition, offering his unique take on the sports world.
Writing in Sports Illustrated about his boyhood hero Johnny Unitas, who played for Deford's hometown Baltimore Colts in the 1950s, Deford said he wondered how people "in olden times connected back to their childhoods".
"From the Super Bowl as Shakespeare to the Sports Curmudgeon, to his regular castigating of the NCAA over how it treats its student athletes, to America's complicated love affair with the NFL, Frank made every week memorable", NPR noted at the time. Nobody was better at connecting sports to the culture at large.
His 1981 novel "Everybody's All-American" was adapted to screen by Taylor Hackford in a 1988 film starring Jessica Lange, Dennis Quaid, and Timothy Hutton.
Deford is a member of the Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame, was named Sportswriter of the Year by that organization six times, and is generally considered one of the truly great sportswriters of any era.
He was editor-in-chief of The National, the nation's first sports daily that was founded in 1990 and folded the following year. "Sad to hear he passed away", Simmons wrote on Twitter.
Deford joined HBOSports in 1995 and his first report chronicled life in Augusta, Georgia, outside of the Masters.
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