Fred Kast has noticed a lot of basketball in his 57 years because the authentic scorer for the Golden State Warriors — some excellent, some unhealthy, some superb. After Stephen Curry scored 62 issues for the Warriors on Sunday evening, Kast were given a phone name on Monday morning from one among his closest buddies.
“You recognize, after each and every basket that Curry made, I may just listen him shouting, ‘Thanks, Fred!’” Kast recalled his good friend telling him. “He was once pulling my leg.”
Kast, who will flip 82 this month, has recorded each and every box purpose, each and every loose throw, each and every foul and each and every timeout in just about each and every Warriors house recreation since 1963-64. He jots the stats into an N.B.A.-issue, spiral-bound pocket book that is going to the league place of job on the conclusion of each and every season. In a league that has noticed its percentage of technological advances, the authentic scorer — the one that logs each and every recreation’s maximum essential components — is a throwback, and each and every staff has one. Someplace within the N.B.A. archives, there’s a small library of Kast’s handiwork.
Kast has subtle his craft via about 20 training adjustments, 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 Enviornment. However not anything lasts eternally, and Kast is ready to retire after the Warriors’ recreation towards the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday evening. As the scoop started to flow into amongst his buddies and co-workers this week — Kast sought after to stay it quiet — they attempted to check in what it intended.
“It’s a surprise to the device,” mentioned Brett Yamaguchi, the staff’s longtime senior director of recreation operations. “He’s been any such a part of the material of Warriors basketball.”
Kast had now not deliberate on stepping away this season, however disruptions brought about via the coronavirus pandemic made him understand that it was once time. Body of workers individuals who take a seat on the scorer’s desk this season want two virus unfavourable exams, gathered 24 hours aside, within the 3 days earlier than a recreation. That suggests Kast every now and then should make an additional three-hour spherical commute from his house in San Jose, Calif., in order that he will also be examined on the area.
“And my evening imaginative and prescient isn’t what it used be anyway,” Kast mentioned.
The pandemic has been tough for him in alternative ways. His spouse, Nita, is unwell and lives in a talented nursing facility. As a result of coronavirus protocols, Kast has hardly ever been in a position to peer her, he mentioned, and when he does, it’s via panes of glass. They’ve been married for 41 years.
“If I may just alternate puts along with her, I might gladly do it,” mentioned Kast, who has two stepchildren and 3 grandchildren.
Forward of retirement, Kast has stored busy, operating 3 house video games already this week. He’ll get replaced via 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 paintings from a couple of fresh video games in order that he may just find out about them — and a few clean pages in order that he may just apply on his personal.
“The sport isn’t going to forestall since you don’t file one thing proper,” Kast mentioned. “It’s now not a very simple factor. Nevertheless it turns into more straightforward the extra you do it.”
Earlier than he become the N.B.A.’s govt vp of basketball operations, Kiki VanDeWeghe was once a high-scoring ahead whose personal stats have been documented via Kast on a couple of events.
“He helped set the style for learn how to do the task of authentic scorer at a excessive degree,” VanDeWeghe mentioned. “I’ll omit seeing him in his seat at heart court docket.”
Rising up in Rahway, N.J., Kast can have gotten his basketball genes from his mom, Marie, who performed a half-court model of the sport as a tender lady. His father, Fred, labored at a brokerage company on Wall Side road and stored his automotive in a storage that had a basketball hoop within sight.
“So I might cross shoot hoops whilst my dad was once washing his automotive,” Kast mentioned.
Kast was once predisposed to the sport for one different reason why: He was once tall. By the point he reached highschool, he was once just about 6-foot-6 and a promising low-post presence. He in the end left for Duke on a basketball scholarship, serving to the staff win its first Atlantic Coast Convention championship. He additionally had a memorable matchup with Jerry West, who was once then starring for West Virginia.
“I believe he scored one thing like 30 issues within the first half of,” Kast mentioned, “which offers you some clue as to how efficient I used to be on protection.” (Kast was once being fairly modest; West scored simplest 29 issues in that recreation.)
After graduating, Kast left for California to paintings in gross sales for a clinical provides corporate. Up to he cherished the sport, he idea his simplest connection to basketball shifting ahead can be as a fan. He was once about to stumble right into a part-time task that might stay him nearer to the motion than he may just ever have imagined.
“Simply unknowingly being in the precise position on the proper time,” he mentioned.
Within the fall of 1963, now not lengthy after relocating to the Bay House, Kast purchased a price 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 once housing the staff after its cross-country transfer from Philadelphia. Earlier than Kast reached his seat, he ran into a school good friend who was once operating on the scorer’s desk. The good friend requested Kast if he can be keen to lend a hand.
“Positive, I’d be satisfied to try this,” Kast recalled telling his good friend. “The place would I be seated?”
“Proper at midcourt,” his good friend mentioned.
Kast mentioned he become the staff’s authentic scorer later that season. For 4 seasons, he commuted from Sacramento, struggling with late-night fog on his 90-mile power house. After he retired from his gross sales task of 37 years in 1999, he endured scorekeeping, a gig that he handled with painstaking professionalism.
“Neatly, I’ve been that means with the whole thing that I’ve completed,” he mentioned. “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 accountable for non-basketball leisure for the staff, were given a way of Kast’s meticulous nature when he sat subsequent to Kast on the scorer’s desk in his early days at the task. They made an unusual pair. Whilst Kast sat together with his pad and pens, Yamaguchi supervised “the entire craziness,” as he put it.
“Fred is any such purist,” Yamaguchi mentioned, “and I simply take into accout listening to, ‘Howdy, are you able to flip down that tune?’ And I’m like: ‘OK, Fred! Certainly!’”
Individuals who get jobs at the scorer’s desk for the Warriors generally tend to stay them. Jim Maher has labored for the Warriors in more than a few capacities for over 50 years, maximum lately as their game-clock operator. Lori Hoye has been the staff’s leader statistician since 1989, and now leads a four-person workforce that tracks in-game stats on a pc device.
Hoye, 61, has lengthy labored carefully with Kast, whose scorebook is the authentic file and whose penmanship is actual. (“What occurs if the computer systems damage down?” Kast mentioned.) He makes use of two pens: a black one to take notation in actual time and a purple one to collect totals on the finish of each and every quarter.
“We’re all making an attempt to ensure we’ve the similar numbers,” Hoye mentioned. “Coaches get on your means. Avid gamers get on your means. And we’re at all times making an attempt to determine the refs’ hands when a nasty is named. The worst factor is to have avid gamers with the Nos. 45, 54 and nine at the court docket on the identical time.”
She laughed and added, “It’s now not going to look actual when Fred isn’t right here.”
Kast will proceed to observe the Warriors from house — and “Dancing With the Stars,” one among his favourite tv techniques. In many ways, it may well be more straightforward for him to benefit from the staff’s theatrics now that he now not must pay shut consideration to his paintings. He marvels on the velocity of the trendy recreation, and at the ability of avid gamers like Curry.
“His shotmaking skill is uncanny,” mentioned Kast, who by no means idea he would have a front-row seat for goodbye.
He’s thankful that he had one in any respect.