Legacy of Excellence
Philadelphia Daily News Sportswriter
My dad, Phil Jasner, never punched a time clock. He couldn't. He never treated his job like a chore. Because he wouldn't. His job was a true labor of love. My dad never felt like he had done enough. He was always searching for more, the next interview, the next call, the next breaking story.
Phil Jasner is a rarity in this day and age. Even at 68 years young, he's more passionate now about his career than he was when he first started. You don't see that too much anymore. If at all.
But Dad has never been a conventional person. Whether the work week demanded 40 hours or 90 hours, he was there plugging away at his computer - or his typewriter back in the day.
For all these years of hard work and dedication, Dad has been recognized once again, this time by the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for the Legacy of Excellence award. He joins his former and current co-workers Stan Hochman, Ray Didinger (now with Comcast SportsNet) and Bill Conlin.
This is Dad's fifth Hall of Fame. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the halls at both Overbrook High School and Temple University have also honored him.
A Temple University graduate, my dad spent the early part of his career at the Pottstown (Pa.) Mercury, Montgomery Newspapers (Fort Washington, Pa.), as well as the Norristown Times Herald and the Trentonian.
Then he found his true niche in the workforce when he joined the Philadelphia Daily News in 1972. He never left. He never thought about leaving. This was it, the perfect situation, the perfect place with a staff he has come to call his colleagues and lifelong friends.
Dad began covering the 76ers on a full-time basis in 1981. From Caldwell Jones to Bobby Jones to Julius Erving to Charles Barkley to Allen Iverson to Evan Turner, Phil Jasner has been "on the case."
When his editor called our house, Dad would say, "I'm on the case."
And I knew that he always was.
Long before cell phones were invented, Dad would rack up a gargantuan phone bill with calls to Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, wherever to track down a pressing story. He wouldn't quit until he got every fact for that story. Even if it meant working in the wee hours of the morning while I was sleeping in the adjacent bedroom.
"Andy, do you think they will be upset with my phone bill?" Dad asked me all the time.
He was always worried about minutia like this, but he was never worried about getting it right. He has gotten it right for 38-plus years at the Daily News.
In an era where so many newspaper reporters burn out, Dad keeps on churning with an energy level unmatched by those even in their '20s and '30s. To this day, reporters from other cities ask me where his energy comes from.
Dad and I were the first father-son combination to cover an NBA All-Star Game in 1992 in Orlando when Magic Johnson won over the fans with an MVP performance. I remember sitting courtside with my father, who had this wide-eyed look on his face. While other reporters were complaining about deadlines or the business in general, Dad was in utopia.
When he returned to Philadelphia, he bought as many copies of the Daily News as he could find and mailed them to family members and friends scattered throughout the country. He was that proud of his work.
I was also fortunate to have covered three NBA Finals and numerous other All-Star Games with my dad. The NBA, namely Brian McIntyre, was always incredibly gracious in seating the two of us next to each other even when I was just starting my career in my early '20s.
As the 76ers start another era under coach Doug Collins, I'm lucky enough to share press row with my dad. We get to work side by side again. But it was never work to my dad. It was his passion. And what he was meant to do.
Welcome to the Hall, Dad. You deserve it. The Hall deserves you. We're all so very proud of you.
Andy, Taryn, Jordana and Shira