NBA Basketball

Longtime LA Lakers reporter Mitch Chortkoff dies at 78

LOS ANGELES (AP) Mitch Chortkoff, a columnist and beat writer who covered the Los Angeles Lakers for over 50 years, has died. He was 78.

He died Tuesday at a health care facility in Van Nuys following a long illness, according to his brother Stan.

Chortkoff was considered the dean of the Lakers' press corps, having begun coverage of the team in the early 1960s, shortly after they arrived from Minneapolis. He wrote about the exploits of everyone from Elgin Baylor and Jerry West to Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal to Kobe Bryant and Lonzo Ball.

Chortkoff was also briefly the team's public relations director.

He also covered nearly every other pro and college team in the Los Angeles area during his long career.

Chortkoff worked for the Los Angeles Times Orange County edition, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Santa Monica Evening Outlook, San Diego Evening Tribune and South Bay Daily Breeze. In recent years, he was sports editor of the weekly Culver City Observer.

Chortkoff never married and had no children. His longtime companion, Barbara Lasser, died of cancer in 2009.

Services will be Monday.

Updated July 19, 2018

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