Mitch Chortkoff, a columnist and beat writer who covered the Los Angeles Lakers for more than 50 years, has died. He was 78.
He died Tuesday at a healthcare 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 players including Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and most recently Lonzo Ball.
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.