Referee Mendy Rudolph officiates a Knicks-Pistons game in 1971. Refs often say it's best to go unnoticed, but an official who "makes a call with vigor and elan is really a beautiful part of the game," says Frank Deford. AP hide caption

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Don't Overlook The Unsung Umpire; Referees Can Be Pretty, Too

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Some critics have hedged their appraisals of Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant solely because his team hasn't won a title, says commentator Frank Deford. Eric Gay/AP hide caption

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Don't Judge Exceptional Players By The Company They Keep

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International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Comcast Corp. chairman Brian Roberts signed an agreement this month that secures U.S. broadcast rights for NBC Universal through 2032. Arnaud Meylan/AP hide caption

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The Olympics: A Modern Day World's Fair (And Money Magnet)

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Fans outside Radio City Music Hall show support for their teams during the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft on April 25, 2013, in New York. Al Bello/Getty Images hide caption

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Draft Season: All-American, Twisted And Downright Infectious

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Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling at a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 7, 2012, in Los Angeles. Mark J. Terrill/AP hide caption

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Bad Behavior From A Sports Franchise Owner? That's Not New

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Back in the day, people used to ask Frank Deford who he thought was the greatest boxer. Nowadays, nobody even asks about boxing. Getty Images hide caption

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Sports Reporting: The Way It Was ... And Is

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Frank Deford says there'll never be another Tiger Woods of any sport. Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Despite Everything, Tiger Will Always Be No. 1

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Paycheck Players: Love of the game may no longer be enough motivation for college athletes. iStockphoto hide caption

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Deford: Paying College Athletes Would Level The Playing Field

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Phil Jackson recently signed on as the new president of the New York Knicks. Mark Lennihan/AP hide caption

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The Mystery And History Of Sport's Front Office

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Pete Rose swings for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1985 season. Rose, aka "Charlie Hustle," famously ran to first base even when he was given a walk. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images hide caption

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In Sports, There's No Such Thing As A Bad Hustle

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Tennis Coach Nick Bollettieri gives instructions to a young Anna Kournikova of Russia during a training session at his tennis academy in Bradenton, Fla., in 1990. Kournikova went on to become a highly ranked international player, but she ended her career at age 21 because of injuries. Simon Bruty/Getty Images hide caption

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A Star Tennis Coach And The End Of The All-Around Athlete

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Imagine how much livelier baseball would be with a 14-inch home plate. Alex Brandon/AP hide caption

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It's Time To Shrink Home Plate

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Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel with players Robert Luce (from left) and Michael Sam, ahead of the Cotton Bowl in January. Tim Sharp/AP hide caption

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Michael Sam, A Distraction? Please

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