The Nets’ longtime scorer Herb Turetzky passed away on Monday at the age of 76, the organization announced on Tuesday.
Turetzky had been with the Nets since their inception in 1967 when he scored the franchise’s first game on Oct. 23, 1967, back when they were known as the New Jersey Americans. He has remained a fixture for the Nets since then scoring more than 2,200 games across more than five decades and eight different home arenas.
“For 54 years, Turetzky was synonymous with Nets Basketball,” the team wrote in announcing his passing. “He was the one constant since the inception of the franchise, and his passing leaves a void that can never be filled. A fixture at center court, he touched the lives of generations of Nets players, staff and fans, leaving an indelible mark on those who knew him. His warm smile and kind-hearted nature will be forever missed by all at Barclays Center, and his legacy will endure for years to come.”
The Brownsville, Brooklyn native had an illustrious career that matched some of the greatest players to have donned a Nets uniform on the court. His more than 2,200 games is a Guinness Book of World Record for professional basketball and from the 1984-85 season to 2018, Turetzky worked 1,465 consecutive regular season and playoff games.
— NBA (@NBA) November 17, 2021
Over the course of his career, he witnessed both ABA championships in 1974 and 1976 and watched the Nets go to back-to-back NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. He retired in October of last year and was honored by the organization ahead of their game against the Golden State Warriors on Nov. 16, 2021.
“It’s not a Nets season without Herb Turetzky,” Nets broadcaster Ian Eagle told Sports Illustrated last year. “It’s that simple.”
During the pregame ceremony, Turetzky was named official scorer emeritus by the organization and the scorer’s table at Barclays Center was officially named the “Herb Turetzky Scorer’s Table.” In addition, he has been inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame and the Basketball Old Timers of America Hall of Fame.
“He’s a treasure,” Hall of Famer Julius Erving told SI. “He’s part of the original franchise. Who else has that?”
For a man who had seen it all with the Nets, nothing meant as much as the chance to be there with the organization when it moved to Brooklyn.
“We drive in every day and every night coming here I smile,” Turetzky told the team’s official website in 2017. “It’s romantic, thinking of where we’re going. Seeing the changes in the borough, as we’re driving through Williamsburg and Greenpoint and down Flatbush Avenue. New high rises. New restaurants. This is about eight or nine subway stops from where I grew up as a kid. If this was ever here when we were young, it would have been the greatest thing in the world. That’s what it feels like today.”
Turetzky is survived by his wife of 51 years, Jane, their daughter, Jennifer, son, David, daughter-in-law, Heather, and grandchildren, Jack and Harper.