That’s your cue that Harvey Pollack is about to launch into a story. And he’s got a million of them.
The man who’s been more symbolic of the NBA than even the logo — since he’s been around since the very beginning – has a mind that never stops. Just ask him one simple question and be prepared for a detailed answer so complete it will make your head spin.
His first job? He remembers like it happened yesterday. Names. Places, Starting salary. Even though that was nearly 70 years ago. No, it’s not uncommon for older people to remember events of the distant past, but many forget what they had for breakfast that day.
Harvey? He remembers yesterday, today and probably even tomorrow.
In other words, not your average 90-year-old – or in his case, 32,872-day-old as his T-shirt proclaims, one of the Guinness Record setting bunch he’s been wearing for nearly 10 years.
Known as “Super Stat” to most, Pollack has been at the forefront of pro basketball’s statistical advancements since he began keeping them in 1947. The triple-double? Thank Harvey for that, which he never fails to remind Magic Johnson.
Plus-minus? Blocked shots? Minutes played? In fact, anything you can glean from a boxscore comes courtesy of the man who’s lived in the same house in Northeast Philadelphia for 56 years.
Quite simply, Pollack is every bit the Philadelphia institution when it comes to basketball stats, as the Liberty Bell or Betsy Ross’ House are to American history.
“I’m in 13 different Halls of Fame,” Pollack says proudly, proceeding to run down the list which ranges from his high school (Simon Gratz), college (Temple) and American Legion, to the Philadelphia Big Five, Jewish Sports Hall, and of course, the big one named after the original Dr. J — James Naismith – in Springfield, Mass. “I never would’ve dreamed having a life like this. My brother was the one who took me to all the games.”
And once he started, Harvey’s never stopped or showed any signs of slowing down. “I had bypass surgery in 2002,” he recalls. “I think I missed three games.”
Hear that, Andrew Bynum?
“It just comes naturally to me,” he continues. “You follow the ball.”