The NBA basketball world has lost a terrific writer and a really nice guy.

Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News reports:

Philadelphia basketball is less a sport than it is a community: past and present, college and pro, the people and their stories woven together. Phil Jasner, the premier chronicler of that community, as well as one of its most cherished members, died Friday at age 68.

A Daily News staff reporter since 1972 and the paper’s 76ers beat writer since 1981, Jasner distinguished himself by his generosity and his even-handedness and his persistence most of all. He was an old-fashioned reporter who grew to be the most important basketball voice in a basketball city, known for both his fairness and his decency.

“I could tell at the age of 5,” said his son, Andy. “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.”

His personal life was both painful and joyous. He supported his wife Susie, who died in 2006, through a decades-long battle with lupus. But late in his life, before his cancer diagnosis, he met Marcia Levinson, whom he grew to love and described as his life partner. Throughout, though, there was Andy and later, Andy’s family: wife Taryn and granddaughters Jordana and Shira.

I ran into Phil dozens of times over the years. Almost all our chats were brief, because they usually took place after a Sixers game vs the Knicks or Nets, when I’m usually doing player interviews and he’s doing the same, plus filing on deadline. But he was friendly and as interesting as someone can be in 30-60 seconds, each time we said hello. He was just a great friggin’ dude and will be missed.

– Jeff

The rest of that article contains much more about Phil’s life and work.