Jeff Benedict



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This post is about nostalgia and family bonds. But first – a postscript about my last blog entitled MAYBE I’LL MEET A GIRL:

I never expected a simple story about my friendship with a gay Mormon who performs in the Broadway musical The Book of Mormon to strike such a chord. But the moment the piece went live on June 23rd I was inundated. Over 200,000 people read it on my website. Over 35,000 readers Liked it on Facebook. An even greater number shared it on Facebook and tweeted it on Twitter. The comment page on my website got so overloaded we had to disable it.



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This post is about same sex attraction, loneliness, faith, despair, and unconditional love.

Clark Johnsen is a 37-year-old Broadway actor. Back in 2010 he heard about a new musical coming to Broadway called The Book of Mormon. The satirical script tells the story of 19-year-old Mormon missionaries sent to Africa to convert villagers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



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This post is about frustration, love, stress, longing and tapestry.

Two years ago I was commissioned to write a man’s life story. It’s not the first time I’ve been hired to write for someone. But this one’s different. After two years on the project I’ve developed deep affection – love, really – for the man I’m writing for. Good enough just isn’t good enough. I want his narrative to be the best thing I’ve ever written.



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Recently a friend went for some routine dental work. She had her head back and mouth open when the dentist accidentally dropped a crown down her throat. She choked. EMTs kept her alive. But the crown ended up near her lung. She was rushed to an ER, where a thoracic surgeon removed the shiny object.



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It’s official. The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football has been optioned to become a television drama.

Armen Keteyian and I signed a deal with Colin Callender, the former president of HBO Films. He plans to use our book as the basis of a weekly one-hour show called “The System.” Armen and I are consultants on the project. Our literary agent Richard Pine put the deal together.



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Tomorrow is the NFL Draft. The guy with me in the above picture is Kyle Van Noy. He will be taken in the early rounds.

I profiled Kyle in The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football. His football skills are exceptional. But I admire Kyle for his integrity and humility. He’s not pretentious. And he not easily persuaded by cool. Friendships with guys like him and his parents are a perk of my profession.



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My Decision
Why I made the difficult choice to leave Duke for the NBA
After losing in the NCAA tournament, I needed to clear my mind. I was incredibly disappointed and blamed myself. I didn't watch basketball or go to the gym for several days. But I soon realized the real test is how we handle defeat and I laced my shoes and headed to the student rec center to play some pick-up.
It reminded me of how much I loved the game, but it was only a temporary reprieve. As soon as I got back, I turned my attention to one of the hardest decisions I've had to make up to this point in my life: whether to remain in school or enter the NBA draft.
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Jeff Benedict is a special features writer for Sports Illustrated and a bestselling author of twelve books, including My Name Used to Be Muhammad and The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football. The System is being made into a television drama.

Jabari-SI-Cover-200w     MyNameUsedtoBeMuhammad-200w     System-Cover-200w

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