Frank Deford is a great storyteller and one of America’s best-ever sportswriters. I have enjoyed his work in Sports Illustrated and other publications, and I’m a regular listener of his weekly commentary for NPR’s “Morning Edition.” His new book, “Over Time” is a memoir about his career and the many fascinating sports personalities he’s covered. I was so entertained by reading it that I invited him to share some of his stories with me this morning on KTRS/St. Louis, and before I knew it, amidst a background of wind, sirens, and a barking dog, we had talked for over half an hour.

Among the topics we covered:

  • Why it’s harder to be a sportswriter now than when he started;
  • Why he thinks Billie Jean King was as significant in changing the culture of America as Jackie Robinson;
  • Why there aren’t more Americans among the world’s top-ranked tennis players;
  • Why Title IX had an impact far beyond sports;
  • Why Wilt Chamberlain’s legacy was forever tarnished by his claim of sleeping with 20,000 women;
  • Why he was labeled a “dirty old man” for his Sports Illustrated cover story on Anna Kournikova;
  • Why he’s not going to London for the Olympics this summer;
  • Why he told a documentarian that poker is “a fad”;

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Previously on Harris Online…