Unprompted, he brings up Anthony Mason. After spotting an inscrutable T-shirt—featuring the late bruiser, most famous for his days with the Knicks and his unique buzzcutsthe man sitting in a wheelchair with white hair and matching mustache has a story to tell. 

“The thing with Mase,” Herb Turetzky begins with a smirk, “was that when he was trying out with us he was wearing all the big jewelry. I said to him, ‘Mase, you got a better chance of someone picking you up in this league if you get rid of all that crap.’ He did, he got rid of it. Then he shaved the thing in his head. It was the greatest.” His glee at the memory is genuine.

It’s remarkable Turetzky could see enough of the shirt to even make the connection, but hes someone who pays attention for a living. As the Nets resident scorekeeper, he’s been tallying up the details of the teams game since they were known as the New Jersey Americans of the American Basketball Association (ABA).

Herb’s wife, Jane, who has accompanied him to every Nets games since before they were married, sits to his right, their connection explicit in the their closeness. The Nets are a couple hours from tipping off against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. Arriving journalists shuffle past us as we talk, but we might as well have been alone as Herb recounts a half century of keeping score in eight different arenas, two leagues, and two states.

He initially got the job because the team didn’t have anyone to keep score during their inaugural game in 1967. After a car accident waylaid him for all but a few games of their second season, Herb took the reins for the next five decades, missing just four games in that time.

One was for the birth of his daughter in 1973. Two came during the 1984 postseason when the Nets surprised everyone by making the playoffs. Herb had agreed to bring a pro-am team to France that summer, and hadn’t expected them to win 19 of their last 27 games to get the 6-seed.

Craig Robinson played on that travel team Herb went with to France. Most might think of the comedic actor when they hear that name, but it’s actually Barack Obama’s brother-in-law. That’s just a sliver of the crazy connections you find sprinkled throughout every Herb Turetzky anecdote. He’s a fount of facts, figures and OG names long forgotten.