Frank Deford

  • Aired:  06/25/12
  •  | Views: 3,405

Frank Deford talks about his long sports writing career, his face-off with the Harlem Globetrotters, and the establishment of Title IX. (5:54)

>> Stephen: HEY, WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST IS AN A CLIPPED SPORTS REPORTER WHO HAS WRITTEN 18 BOOKS.

HE HAD TO FINE SOMETHING TO KEEP HIM AWAKE DURING BASEBALL GAMES.

PLEASE WELCOME FRANK DEFORD.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR STOPPING IN, HAVE A SEAT.

SIR, FIRST OF ALL, I HAVE TO COMPLIMENT YOU ON BEING A DAPPER GENTLEMAN.

NOT EVERYONE SHOWS THE RESPECT TO COME ON MY SHOW WITH THE-- AND THE CHER SHEAF.

>> SPORTS WRITERS ARE USUALLY LOOKED UPON AS INVOLVE ENLY AN I LIKE TO GO OPPOSITE.

>> THE OSCAR --

>> EXACTLY, I'M NOT A TYPICAL SPORTS WRITER, I DON'T EVEN PLAY GOLF WHICH

DRIVES PEOPLE CRAZY.

>> YOU DON'T PLAY GOLF, HOW DO YOU MAKE BUSINESS DEALS.

>> THAT'S IT.

I'M A WRITER.

I DON'T HAVE TO.

>> NOW YOU'VE GOT A NEW BOOK CALLED OVERTIME.

MY LIFE AS SPORTS WRITER.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: IS IT OVERTIME OR OVER TIME.

>> NO, IT'S A PLAY ON WORDS,

SEE IT MEANS TWO THINGS AM ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A NAME ABOUT YOUR LIFE, A MEMOIR TYPE NAME.

>> Stephen: SO IT MEANS TWO THINGS AT ONCE.

>> YES, TWO THINGS AT ONCE BUT WE ALSO HAVE IN SPORTS,

WE HAVE OVERTIME.

>> Stephen: FRANK, FRANK.

>> SO IT SI PERFECT TITLE.

>> Stephen: FRANK, YOU'RE BLOWING MY MIND.

(APPLAUSE)

>> I KNOW, I KNOW I'M MOVING TOO FAST FOR YOU.

>> Stephen: AS A SPORTS WRITER THIS IS SOMETHING I-- YOU KNOW, I'M NOT THE

MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT SPORTS.

DID YOU PLAY THE GAME AS A KID OR WAS SPORTS WRITING A RESPONSE TO THE FACT THAT

YOU GOT PICKED LAST FOR THE DODGE BALL TEAM?

>> THAT'S WHAT EVERYBODY SAYS.

THAT YOU HAVE TO PLAY THE GAME TO BE ABLE TO WRITE IT.

RED SMITH THE GREAT COLUMNIST F THAT WERE TRUE THEN ONLY DEAD MEN COULD WRITE OBITUARIS.

>> Stephen: WOW.

THAT'S DEEP, MAN.

SO WHAT'S THE ANSWER.

DID YOU PLAY.

>> I PLAYED AS A KID BUT THEN EVERYBODY PLAYED AS A KID.

AND YOU KNOW, I WAS A HIGH SCHOOL STAR.

>> Stephen: WHAT WAS YOUR GAME.

>> BASKETBALL.

I'M 6 FOOT 4.

ACTUALLY THE LAST TIME I PLAYED WAS AGAINST THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS, THAT

WAS THE HEIGHT OF MY CAREER.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

DID YOU WIN.

>> WERE YOU PLAYING FOR THE WASHINGTON GENERALS.

>> EXACTLY.

I MEAN I WAS A TALL WHITE GUY WHO COULDN'T JUMP SO I FIT PERFECTLY INTO THE OPPOSITION TEAM.

AND I AGREED TO PLAY THEM THE LAST NIGHT THAT I WAS WITH THEM IN BOLOGNA.

AND THE GREAT THING ABOUT THAT IS THAT THE FIRST THING YOU'RE ASKED WHEN ARE YOU A

TALL PERSON IS DID YOU EVER PLAY BASKETBALL.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN HEAVEN,

THAT'S WHAT THEY ASK HIM.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: THAT GUY COULD JUMP.

ASK ROBERT E LEE TOO.

>> SO NOW YOU SEE WHAT I CAN SAY, STEPHEN, IS YEAH, I PLAYED A LITTLE PRO BALL IN

ITALY, YOU SEE THAT GIVES ME-- THAT'S THE HEIGHT OF MY CAREER.

>> Stephen: WELL, YOU HAD SUCH A LONG AND ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER, YOU HAVE WRITTEN 18

BOOKS, YOU HAVE WRITTEN FOR "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED", A HERE ON HBO, REAL SPORTS WITH

BRYANT GUM BALANCE.

HOW HAS SPORTS WRITING CHANGED OVER YOUR CAREER BECAUSE WHEN YOU STARTED THE

SUPER BOWL WAS JUST LEATHER HELMETS AND GUYS WITH TRUNNCHOS.

ONE TEAM HAS CLUBS THE OTHER KNIVES, RIGHT.

>> SPORTS WRITING HASN'T CHANGED MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.

THE GREAT THING ABOUT SPORTS WRITING IS IT'S DRAMA AND IT'S GLAMOR.

AND THERE'S WINS AND LOSSES.

AND IT IS ABOUT, IF YOU CAN'T WRITE SPORTS YOU REALLY OUGHT TO GET OUT OF

THE BUSINESS BECAUSE IT GIVES YOU EVERYTHING.

>> Stephen: KUZ YOU KNOW WHAT TO SAYS, YOU KNOW WHAT THE STORY IS.

>> YOU DON'T KNOW THE STORY BUT YOU KNOW IT'S GO TOKAI

GOOD STORY WHEN IT'S OVER SO THAT IS WHAT MAKES IT SO GOOD.

THE TROUBLE WITH SPORTS WRITING IS IT IS OVERWHELMED BY STATISTICS.

THE WORST THING THAT HAPPENED WAS THAT MONEY BALL WHICH WAS ALL ABOUT NUMBERS AND NUMBERS.

AND YOU WANT TO LIKE BLOOD AND GUTS, THAT'S SPORTS WRITING.

>> Stephen: BRAD PITT WAS NOMINATED FOR THAT.

>> HE WAS NOMINATED BUT IT WAS DULL, AS TEDIOUS AS SOCCER IS.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE NO FAN OF SOCCER.

YOU'RE NO FAN OF SOCCER.

>> OH, SOCCER-- .

>> Stephen: RIGHT UP HERE,

BABY DOLL.

NO, LISTEN WHAT SEPARATES US FROM THE ANIMALS IS OUR OPPOSABLE THUMBS.

>> THAT'S EXACTLY TRUE.

>> Stephen: I THINK A ZEBRA COULD PLAY SOCCER.

>> IT'S THE ONLY THING, THE ONLY INSTITUTION IN THE WORLD IN WHICH WE DON'T USE

OUR HANDS WHEN WE HAVE A CHOICE AND THEN WE USE OUR HEADS, YOU KNOW TO BUTT THE BALL LIKE THAT.

AND THAT'S WHY AMERICANS, I THINK, ARE THE ONLY SUPERPOWER LEFT ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH.

(APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: I AGREE YOU SAY THAT ALL THE BREAKTHROUGHS HAVE HAPPENED IN SPORT.

WHAT DOW MEAN BY THAT.

>> I MEANT WHEN I GOT IN A LONG LONG TIME AGO THERE WERE, FOR EXAMPLE, VERY FEW

WOMEN PLAYING SPORT OS THEN.

I MEAN THE GREATEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN MY TIME,

SERIOUSLY, HAS BEEN WOMEN COMING INTO SPORTS.

THIS IS THE 40th ANNIVERSARY OF TITLE IX.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE IN FAVOR OF TITLE IX.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

IT'S GIVEN WOMEN A CHANCE.

LET ME TELL YOU, MORE THAN THAT-- (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: WAY TO BUTTER UP THE LADIES IN THE CROWD.

>> THAT'S HOW PICK UP CHICKS,

RIGHT?

>> Stephen: WELL, FRANK,

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

>> THANK YOU, STEPHEN.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: THE BOOK IS

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