Phil Jasner Dies at Age 68
Philadelphia lost a legend on Friday night, when long-time Philadelphia 76ers beat writer Phil Jasner passed away surrounded by his family after losing a battle with cancer at the age of 68. Jasner's son Andy is a philadelphiaunion.com writer.
Jasner was regarded by all who knew him as a tireless worker, generous and fair man, and one who would always make time for a conversation, whether it be with Julius Erving or a fan in the stands.
"I could tell at the age of five," Andy recalled to the Philadelphia Daily News. "He took me to a game with him and people started coming up to him to talk - security guards, everyone. It would go on for years like that, at the old Spectrum, whether it was an usher or Joe Fan in the third row. He was approachable that way. People liked him, and he treated everyone the same. He had time for everybody."
Jasner was inducted into five halls of fame: the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame; the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame; the Overbrook High School Hall of Fame; the Temple University School of Communications and Theater's Hall of Fame; and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. Before taking over as the Sixers' beat writer in 1981, Jasner spent time covering the Philadelphia Atoms, a soccer team that played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 1973-1976.
"He never lost his enthusiasm for the work," said Andy. "I'm convinced he would have done it forever. He loved it."
Jasner's personal life tested his resolve, as his wife Susie died in 2006 after a decades-long battle with lupus. Jasner was able to experience the joy of seeing Andy's family flourish, as he and his wife Taryn gave birth to two daughters, Jordana and Shira.
"He loved his girls," Andy said. "He adored them. It was who he was. Those two phone calls I was able to make to him, when they were born, were the happiest days of his life."
Even through tough times, Jasner was a consummate professional and a relentless reporter, only adding to the respect garnered from his peers.
"His life was hard in many ways," Andy continued. "My mom went through hell. But he felt like that was going to be one side of his life, and he was going to take care of it, and then there would be the work side of his life. He really had a tough personal life for many years, but the work became a release for him.
By all accounts, Jasner was beloved by those who came in contact with him.
Said Allen Iverson on his Twitter account: "I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Phil Jasner. The world has truly lost a "great man", who will be surely missed. My condolences go out tonight to his family."
Jasner may have passed, but his legacy lives on.
Philadelphia Union sends its condolences to Andy and his family, as well as Marcia Levinson, Jasner's life partner in his later years.