Six prominent writers offer their thoughts on impact, life and legacy of the late Sports Illustrated writer, Frank Deford.

By Richard Deitsch
June 01, 2017

Episode 122 of the Sports Illustrated Media podcast features a tribute to the life and work of Frank Deford, the longtime Sports Illustrated writer who died on May 28 at his home in Key West, Fla. He was 78.

Writers Alex Wolff (Sports Illustrated), Wright Thompson (ESPN), Jack McCallum (SI), Sally Jenkins (Washington Post), Tim Layden (SI) and Michael Farber (SI and TSN) joined the podcast (separate segments) to offer thoughts on their favorite Deford pieces, his impact on sports journalism, personal stories of interacting with Deford, how he approached stories, why he matters in 2017 and much more.

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'He wrote like he was shooting for something': Remembering SI legend Frank Deford

“His best stuff was for the ages,” said Wolff. “It was a privilege to be his colleague.”

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Podcast breakdown

Alex Wolff, on writing the Deford obit for Sports Illustrated. – 1:30

Wolff, on who Deford was as a writer – 3:50

Wolff on his personal relationship with Deford  – 7:40

Wolff, on the Deford piece that stays with him the most – 10:30

Wolff, on Deford as a writing stylist ­– 14:00

Wolff, on why Deford was matched perfectly for his time – 18:20

Thompson, on why a great profile is true forever – 22:00

Thompson, on Deford as a writing influence 24:00

Thompson, on Deford’s literary devices ­– 26:30

Thompson, on the quintessential Deford piece, in his opinion ­– 29:00

McCallum, on Deford’s journalism legacy –36:00

McCallum, on his interactions with Deford –38:00

McCallum, on the Deford pieces that stood out for him – 40:30

Jenkins, on her Post column memorializing Deford ­– 47:00

• Layden, on Deford’s impact on his career – 52:50

Layden, on Deford’s ability to do multiple subjects – 55:15

Layden, on Deford’s ability to transport a read to a time or place – 1:01:40

Farber, on first meeting Deford in 1974 – 1:03.30

Farber, on Deford’s hockey work – 1:08.00

Farber, on Deford offering him a job to work at The National – 1:10.00

Farber, on Deford’s enduring legacy – 1:11.30

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