Frank Deford ends NPR sports commentaries after 37 years

US President Barack Obama presents the 2012 National Humanities Medal to sports writer Frank Deford during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on July 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) _ National Public Radio commentator Frank Deford has bid listeners goodbye after 37 years of discussing sports on the network.

Deford gave his 1,656th and final commentary on NPR’s “Morning Edition” Wednesday, ending a run of what he calls “little homilies” that began in 1980. He thanked NPR for allowing him to choose his topics and allowing him “to treat sports seriously, as another branch on the tree of culture.”

The 78-year-old remains a contributing writer at Sports Illustrated, where he got his start in 1962.

Deford has also served as a correspondent on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” since 1995.

Deford received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2013 for “transforming how we think about sports.”