Fred Kast has seen loads of basketball in his 57 years because the official scorer for the Golden State Warriors — some good, some dangerous, some wonderful. After Stephen Curry scored 62 points for the Warriors on Sunday evening, Kast bought a phone name on Monday morning from considered one of his closest associates.
“You already know, after each basket that Curry made, I may hear him shouting, ‘Thanks, Fred!’” Kast recalled his buddy telling him. “He was pulling my leg.”
Kast, who will flip 82 this month, has recorded each area objective, each free throw, each foul and each timeout in almost each Warriors dwelling recreation since 1963-64. He jots the stats into an N.B.A.-issue, spiral-bound pocket book that goes to the league workplace on the conclusion of every season. In a league that has seen its share of technological advances, the official scorer — the one who logs every recreation’s most important parts — is a throwback, and each workforce has one. Someplace within the N.B.A. archives, there’s a small library of Kast’s handiwork.
Kast has refined his craft by way of about 20 teaching modifications, 23 playoff appearances and 4 championships, manning the scorer’s desk at no fewer than six arenas, together with the Cow Palace, the San Francisco Civic Auditorium and Oracle Arena. However nothing lasts endlessly, and Kast is ready to retire after the Warriors’ recreation towards the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday evening. Because the information started to flow into amongst his associates and colleagues this week — Kast needed to maintain it quiet — they tried to register what it meant.
“It’s a shock to the system,” stated Brett Yamaguchi, the workforce’s longtime senior director of recreation operations. “He’s been such part of the material of Warriors basketball.”
Kast had not deliberate on stepping away this season, however disruptions attributable to the coronavirus pandemic made him notice that it was time. Employees members who sit on the scorer’s desk this season want two virus damaging assessments, collected 24 hours aside, within the three days earlier than a recreation. Which means Kast typically should make an additional three-hour spherical journey from his dwelling in San Jose, Calif., in order that he might be examined on the area.
“And my evening imaginative and prescient isn’t what it used be anyway,” Kast stated.
The pandemic has been troublesome for him in different methods. His spouse, Nita, is ailing and lives in a talented nursing facility. Due to coronavirus protocols, Kast has hardly ever been capable of see her, he stated, and when he does, it’s by way of panes of glass. They’ve been married for 41 years.
“If I may change locations together with her, I’d gladly do it,” stated Kast, who has two stepchildren and three grandchildren.
Forward of retirement, Kast has saved busy, working three dwelling video games already this week. He can be changed by Kyle McRae, who has spent 30 years as a Warriors statistician. Kast has been tutoring Kevin Chung, who will help McRae, offering Chung with copies of his work from just a few current video games in order that he may research them — and a few clean pages in order that he may observe on his personal.
“The sport is just not going to cease since you don’t file one thing proper,” Kast stated. “It’s not a straightforward factor. However it turns into simpler the extra you do it.”
Earlier than he turned the N.B.A.’s government vp of basketball operations, Kiki VanDeWeghe was a high-scoring forward whose personal stats have been documented by Kast on a number of events.
“He helped set the mannequin for the way to do the job of official scorer at a excessive stage,” VanDeWeghe stated. “I’ll miss seeing him in his seat at middle court docket.”
Rising up in Rahway, N.J., Kast could have gotten his basketball genes from his mom, Marie, who performed a half-court model of the sport as a younger girl. His father, Fred, labored at a brokerage agency on Wall Avenue and saved his automotive in a storage that had a basketball hoop close by.
“So I’d go shoot hoops whereas my dad was washing his automotive,” Kast stated.
Kast was predisposed to the sport for one different cause: He was tall. By the point he reached highschool, he was almost 6-foot-6 and a promising low-post presence. He finally left for Duke on a basketball scholarship, serving to the workforce win its first Atlantic Coast Convention championship. He additionally had a memorable matchup with Jerry West, who was then starring for West Virginia.
“I believe he scored one thing like 30 factors within the first half,” Kast stated, “which supplies you some clue as to how efficient I used to be on protection.” (Kast was being considerably modest; West scored solely 29 factors in that recreation.)
After graduating, Kast left for California to work in gross sales for a medical provides firm. As a lot as he beloved the sport, he thought his solely connection to basketball transferring ahead can be as a fan. He was about to stumble right into a part-time job that might maintain him nearer to the motion than he may ever have imagined.
“Simply unknowingly being in the suitable place on the proper time,” he stated.
Within the fall of 1963, not lengthy after relocating to the Bay Space, Kast purchased a ticket to observe the Warriors — and Wilt Chamberlain, whom he had as soon as met at a summer time basketball camp — on the Cow Palace, the world that was housing the workforce after its cross-country transfer from Philadelphia. Earlier than Kast reached his seat, he ran into a school buddy who was working on the scorer’s desk. The buddy requested Kast if he can be keen to assist.
“Positive, I’d be glad to try this,” Kast recalled telling his buddy. “The place would I be seated?”
“Proper at midcourt,” his buddy stated.
Kast stated he turned the workforce’s official scorer later that season. For 4 seasons, he commuted from Sacramento, battling late-night fog on his 90-mile drive dwelling. After he retired from his gross sales job of 37 years in 1999, he continued scorekeeping, a gig that he handled with painstaking professionalism.
“Nicely, I’ve been that manner with all the pieces that I’ve executed,” he stated. “My view is, for those who’re going to do one thing, do it proper or don’t do it in any respect.”
Yamaguchi, who is in charge of non-basketball entertainment for the workforce, bought a way of Kast’s meticulous nature when he sat subsequent to Kast on the scorer’s desk in his early days on the job. They made an odd pair. Whereas Kast sat along with his pad and pens, Yamaguchi supervised “all of the craziness,” as he put it.
“Fred is such a purist,” Yamaguchi stated, “and I simply keep in mind listening to, ‘Hey, are you able to flip down that music?’ And I’m like: ‘OK, Fred! Undoubtedly!’”
Individuals who get jobs on the scorer’s desk for the Warriors are inclined to maintain them. Jim Maher has labored for the Warriors in varied capacities for over 50 years, most not too long ago as their game-clock operator. Lori Hoye has been the workforce’s chief statistician since 1989, and now leads a four-person crew that tracks in-game stats on a pc system.
Hoye, 61, has lengthy labored intently with Kast, whose scorebook is the official file and whose penmanship is exact. (“What occurs if the computer systems break down?” Kast stated.) He makes use of two pens: a black one to take notation in actual time and a crimson one to compile totals on the finish of every quarter.
“We’re all making an attempt to ensure we now have the identical numbers,” Hoye stated. “Coaches get in your manner. Gamers get in your manner. And we’re at all times making an attempt to determine the refs’ fingers when a foul known as. The worst factor is to have gamers with the Nos. 45, 54 and 9 on the court docket on the similar time.”
She laughed and added, “It’s not going to appear actual when Fred isn’t right here.”
Kast will proceed to observe the Warriors from dwelling — and “Dancing With the Stars,” considered one of his favourite tv packages. In some methods, it is perhaps simpler for him to benefit from the workforce’s theatrics now that he not must pay shut consideration to his work. He marvels on the pace of the trendy recreation, and at the skill of players like Curry.
“His shotmaking capability is uncanny,” stated Kast, who by no means thought he would have a front-row seat for therefore lengthy.
He’s grateful that he had one in any respect.