He knows the score!

Sports metaphors are often used by people who don’t know anything about sports. They expound gems like “keep your eye on the ball” and tell you that the same ball is “in your court.”
Herb Turetzky is one man with the sports experience to back up any of these metaphors. His life has interwoven with sports so often and for so long that he could fill a book – and he did.
“BASKETBALL and Life,” a collection of poetry on a variety of topics, is culled from Turetzky’s more than 40 years as the official scorekeeper for the New Jersey Nets. In his book, the longtime Bayside resident and owner of Crown Trophy on Bell Boulevard, shares his life; including his personal relationships and his time with the National Basketball Association (NBA).
“Over the years, I would write poems for special occasions,” said Turetzky. “Some were about basketball and some were about family. After a while, I decided that maybe I should do something with them.”
Turetzky became the official scorer for the Nets while they were a part of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and known as the New Jersey Americans. He then followed them to Long Island where they became the New York Nets. And when they finally joined the NBA and moved back to New Jersey, he went with them.
“When the team left Long Island, I didn’t think I’d follow them anymore,” said Turetzky, who grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. “Before I knew it, I was the official scorer. It became who I was.”
Attending almost every home game the Nets have played since their inception might sound like lunacy to some, but Turetzky believes it keeps him close to a game that he once loved as a player.
Before becoming the Nets’ official scorer, Turetzky played basketball for Thomas Jefferson High School and later for Long Island University. He worked as a physical education teacher and during that time was approached by the team’s original coach, Max Zaslofsky, and asked if he wanted to be a statistician.
With that, Turetzky became synonymous with the franchise. It culminated in 1987 when the Nets retired Julius “Dr. J.” Irving’s number 32. The legendary player took time out from his acceptance speech to tell the crowd of 20,000 that they should “know about the history of the franchise, about people like Herb Turetzky.”
“I almost fell down,” said Turetzky, who counts Dr. J as one of his closest friends. “Mentioning me on his night is an irreplaceable memory that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
In 2004, Turetzky was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame, an honor that he wanted his friend Dr. J to witness. The hoops legend did more than witness it; he was Turetzky’s official escort for the night, paying his own way up from Florida.
It is the kind of relationship that Turetzky writes about in his book. He touches on friends and his extended basketball family, including Irving, Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan.
“It’s about the people, the ballplayers, the coaches, the refs, the timers, the writers. It’s about all of those relationships and my love of the game.” he said.
He also writes about his immediate family; he and his wife Jane, a recently retired special education health coordinator, are the proud parents of Jennifer, a bilingual school psychologist at The Heathcote School in Scarsdale, Arizona; and David, who was recently named Varsity basketball coach at Springfield Township High School in Pennsylvania.
Turetzky hopes to continue working with the Nets long enough to see them move to the Barclays Center in his native Brooklyn. Following his team back to his old borough where it all began – for Turetzky, that’s poetic.
“The move to Brooklyn is like a carrot they’re holding in front of me,” he said. “It would be a homecoming, the end of a 360-degree circle for me.”
“BASKETBALL and Life” can be ordered online at www.xlibris.com and www.amazon.com. To learn more about his Hall of Fame career, email Turetzky at [email protected].