Herb Turetzky never looked at his work as the New Jersey Nets official statistician as a job. It was a pleasure, a treat for the 62-year-old Bayside resident. He just rarely took a day off.
Last Friday, he reached a milestone, working his 1,000th consecutive game in the Nets loss to the Boston Celtics. Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers was 1,001.
“It means I don’t have an awful lot more to do with my life,” he joked. “I enjoy the games. I love the people there. They treat me beautifully. I am like a rock star at the arena. The respect is outstanding.”
Turetzky started working games during the inaugural ABA season of 1967, when he attended a New Jersey Americans game. The team’s coach and general manager at the time, Max Zaslofsky, asked him if he wanted to be the scorekeeper that night, and he’s been a fixture with the organization ever since, from Long Island to East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Because of a car accident and other endeavors, his streak did not begin until May 3, 1984, with an Eastern Conference Semi-Final Round game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Born and raised in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Turetzky played basketball at Thomas Jefferson High School, went on to Long Island University, and now owns Crown Trophy in Bayside. Basketball, however, has remained his passion, now and forever.
“I’ve got the best seat in the house,” he said. “I watch the greatest athletes in the world play a game I love. Since I cannot play, this is the next best thing for me. I am involved on the highest level. Fifty nights a year I get to see the best ballgames.”
“When I started this I was a college senior,” Turetzky later added. “It was a lot of fun, I figured it was a part-time thing; I got to stay in the game. No one figured the ABA would last for nine years. It was a fledgling league. Then it was doing so well, the NBA had to bring in some teams, and once that happened I went with them. I still marvel at it, that people still want me doing this after all these years.”