Phil Jasner Rumors
Aaron McKie: Everyone knows Allen would read the newspaper, and that he and Phil Jasner, the Daily News columnist who was usually critical of him, had a special relationship. But Allen also studied the game, too. Allen read the comments — all the comments. He knew going into games which people had said they were going to stop him, and he’d have done his research on how to destroy them. He relished that. If you talked to the press about Allen before a game, that put a target on your back. Take Game 1 of the Finals in 2001. Allen got all the pregame notes and clips, read how different guys were playing and what they were saying about him. He knew what to prepare for. He knew that the Lakers were going to use Tyronn Lue to try to shut him down. Allen took exception to that sort of thing. He’d say, “You know what? I’m going to destroy this motherfucker.”
It didn’t matter whether it was 4 a.m. or at courtside of the NBA championship, Phil Jasner was always there for someone. The Hall of Fame Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter was there to bring a keen eye and unparalleled expertise to the game of basketball, but mostly, Jasner was the kind of top-of-the-food-chain writer that was willing to help anyone, from a rival paper to a novice covering his first game. That was Phil Jasner.There’s a reason why the late Jasner, a Havertown native, is in five sports halls of fame, and why the JCC Maccabi Games have renamed Thursday’s 16-and-under championship—scheduled for 1 p.m. at Bala Cynwyd Middle School—the Phil Jasner Memorial Basketball Tournament. One more great honor for a great man who touched many, many lives in and around basketball, who was constantly giving to basketball and giving to others.
“This is going to be very difficult and incredible all at the same time,” said Andy Jasner, Phil’s son, a 1987 Haverford High School graduate who lives in Media and is also a noted sportswriter nationally. “It’s a huge honor to have this tournament named after my father. It’s the kind of dedication my father gave to people, and from my perspective, I wish my father was still here. I think about him every day, and to have this tournament named after him, it’s something I’ll never forget. “I miss my father dearly, and it’s very heartwarming to see his name up there with this tournament. I have to thank (Comcast SportsNet producer) Brian Schiff for being an important part of making this happen. But that was my dad. People loved him. They don’t put your name on something without a person giving up something and (having) done something for people.”
Sam Smith, the highly respected NBA columnist whose career has spanned more than quarter of a century, is being honored as the inaugural winner of the Phil Jasner Lifetime Achievement Award by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, the group announced yesterday. Smith, who has covered the NBA since 1983 and is now the columnist for Bulls.com, will be honored tonight during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final between the Bulls and Miami Heat.