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January 3, 2014

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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 3, 2014 At 91, Harvey Pollack is still NBA's leading scorer By Hillel Kuttler PHILADELPHIA (JTA)-- Fittingly, Harvey Pollack was the one who scribbled the number 100 on the most famous photograph in basketball history: Wilt Chamberlain holding the piece of paper signifying his astounding point total in a 1962 game for the then Philadelphia Warriors. After all, Pollack is basket- ball's ultimate numbers and public relations man. But the scrawling is hardly Pollack's sole legacy in a nearly seven-decade career in basketball. He was the first to track a player's blocked shots, rebounds, minutes played and dunks. The term "triple- double" for a player netting 10 or more points, rebounds and assists in a game--Pollack's doing. These days he even charts which NBA players sport tattoos. Pollack is the Philadelphia 76ers' director of statistical information, a paltry title for the unofficial historian of all things throughout the National Basketball Associa- tion's existence. "The word 'legend' doesn't appropriately describe Har- vey," NBA Deputy Commis- sioner Adam Silver tells JTA. "He's really the heart and soul of the 76ers, a walking encyclopedia of NBA history and a testament to the family nature of this league." Hillel Kuttler A self-proclaimed "one of a kind,"Harvey Pollack at91 continues to work courtside at Philadelphia 76ers home games. Pollack, vigorous at 91, remains a Philadelphia court- side fixture, scrupulously keeping each game's statistics without so much as eyeglasses to assist. Pollack, in fact, predates the NBA, going back to the Warriors' Basketball Association of America debut in 1946. Not even Philadelphia's basketball-orphan status dur- ing the 1962-63 season--the Warriors moved to San Fran- cisco and the 76ers had not ar- rived from Syracuse--could interrupt Pollack's 68-year tenure in pro basketball: That season he handled public rela- tions for NBA doubleheaders. He's on a T-shirt streak, too, never wearing the same one twice and nearly all donated to the cause. When a reporter visited this month, Pollack was on T-shirt day number 3,817. With pride he says the Guinness Book of World Records people told him he'll own the recordIactually no one sought it pre-Pollack--as soon as the streak actually ceases. Like his work streak, that's hardly imminent. The native Philadelphian has outlived his wife of 58 years, his four siblings, three basketball arenas, the many newspapers for which he wrote and even Chamberlain. He's at his 76ers office daily and works every home game, a must greet for referees and opposing coaches, players and trainers. Non-game nights he attends movie screenings and theater performances and visits restaurants for a society column he has penned for decades. Lara Price, a 76ers ex- ecutive, says Pollack goes to nearly every concert--most of them rock and roll--at the Wells Fargo Center, the team's home. When seats aren't available, he unhestitatingly noodges the arena's owner, Ed Snider, for tickets. Pollack is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basket- ball Hall of Fame, the Phila- delphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and several others, but the ultimate tribute may have been the 76ers presenting fans with a Harvey bobblehead a few years back. He's loved sports since growing up with his im- migrant parents, Louis and Rebecca, both dressmakers, on Dauphin Street, in the northeast section of Philly, not far from where he now makes his home. The family lived a few blocks from Shibe Park, home of the Philadel- phia Athletics, and Pollack and his friends would sneak into the baseball games there with youth groups admitted for free. But basketball has been Pollack's preferred sport since his senior year at Temple University, when he served as the hoop squad's manager and started logging statistics the coach hadn't thought to keep. "They call me the last of the Mohicans because I'm the only one left in the league since [the NBA] started," he says. "There's no clone of me hanging around, so I'm one of a kind." Employing Harvey hyper- bole is as acceptable for ex- 76ers as Pollack's flaunting prohibitions against staffers asking players for autographs, which he does for his interns. "When you mention 'di- nosaur,' you've got to put his picture next to it," says Hall of Famer Julius Erving. "He's refused to become extinct." Erving's former 76ers front- court mate, Bobby Jones, of- fers, "People say that athletes are freaks of nature, but he may be, too." Larry Brown, the one- time Sixers coach who was inducted into the Naismith Hall with Pollack in 2002, says discussing NBA history with Pollack is "like going to graduate school." To Jim Ly- nam, also an ex-76ers coach, Pollack is "a gem ... one of a kind." Moments before a 76ers game earlier this month against the Los Angeles Clippers, Pollack, sport- ing a full gray mane and slightly stooped over, ambles down the corridor from his cramped office--one lit- tered with papers and para- phernalia-settles into his scorer's table seat, straps on earphones and a microphone, and goes to work. He long ago developed an intricate code to convey information to a colleague across the court for input into a desktop computer. The colleague recording the data for statistical posterity? His 67-year-old son, Ron, who has worked with dad since 1962. On the night of Cham- berlain's wondrous game in Hershey, Pa., it was Ron who ran copy to the Western Union desk for transmittal to the wire services. Ron's son Brian, 40, works nearly every game with them from near the basket, calling out turnovers and substitu- tions. Not even the elder Pol- lack can monitor everything. But Pollack's basketball work extends beyond court- side. Silver's "encyclopedia" metaphor is literal, too, since the "Harvey Pollack NBA Sta- tistical Yearbook," published annually since 1966, remains a staple of offices throughout the league. As a player, Jones says he'd open the book and wonder how Pollack conjured such arcana as who had the most 360-degree dunks or the most offensive rebounds in the first quarter of a game--the latter mark belongs to Jones. Besides basketball, Pol- lack's No. 1 is Reba Greenberg Meyers, a 91-year-old widow known as Ritzi. (One of his T-shirts reads"Harvey is Ditzy When He Sees Ritzi."). They began dating in 2004, set up by a mutual friend. For one with a hard drive's memory, Pollack hadn't real- ized until their first date--at a restaurant in Voorhees, in southern New Jersey, he notes--that she belonged to his Simon Gratz High School Class of 1939. Something else Pollack doesn't know: What became of the iconic "100" sign and the ball Chamberlain used to score his 99th and 100th points that night in a victory over the New York Knicks. Says Pollack: "Biggest mis- take I made." There haven't been many. 6 Degrees (no Bacon): Jewish celebrity roundup Jemal Countess/Getty Images Actor Zaeh Braff attends the Broadway opening night of"Big Fish" at Neil Simon Theatre on Oct. 6, 2013 in New York City. By Jana Banin Braff film Sundance-bound HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (JTA)-- It seems like just yesterday that folks were ripping high- earning "Scrubs" star Zach Braff for taking money from regular people via Kickstarter to fund"Wish I Was Here," his follow-up to "Garden State." Now the film is done and set to premiere in Park City, Utah, at the Sundance Film Festival in January, USA To- day reports. In addition to directing and co-writing the project, Braff also has a starring role alongside Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene and Joey King. In other words, enough Jews to warrant an impromptu on-set Rosh Hashanah cel- ebration. "Wish I Was Here" is not in competition at the festival, but we're definitely looking forward to seeing what kind of reaction it gets. Hopefully his investors won't be disap- pointed. Porn pioneer AI Goldstein dies at 77 Al Goldstein, the man who brought his particular brand of hard-core porn to the masses, died last week in a nursing home in Brooklyn. The cause of death, though officially unknown, was most likely renal failure, according to The New York Times. Goldstein was best known for sharing his raunchy sen- HANDYMAN SERVICE Handy man and General Maintenance .. Air Conditioning Electrical Plumbing Carpentry Formerly handled maintenance at JCC References available STEVE'S SERVICES Call Steve Doyle at (386) 668-8960 sibilities and radical ideas via Screw magazine and his New York City public-access cable show "Midnight Blue." "Mr. Goldstein did not in- vent the dirty magazine," the Times obituary states, "but he was the first to present it to a wide audience without the slightest pretense of classiness or subtlety. Sex as depicted in Screw was seldom pretty, romantic or even particularly sexy. It was, primarily, a business, with consumers and suppliers like any other." If you're not familiar with his over-the-topness, this from the Times about sums it up: "Apart from Screw, Mr. Goldstein's most notorious creation was AI Goldstein himself, a cartoonishly vitu- perative amalgam of borscht belt comic, free-range social critic and sex-obsessed loser who seemed to embody a mo- ment in New York City's cul- tural history: the sleaze and decay of Times Square in the 1960s and '70s." The piece goes on to detail Goldstein's path to--as well as influence on--the sex in- dustry, the rise and fall of his mini empire, and his eventual descent into poverty and poor health. Royal birth The latest (and only?) Jew- ish royal has arrived, care of Charlotte Casiraghi and Gad Elmaleh. Their son, Raphael, was born last week. In case you're not up on European celeb culture, Ca- siraghi is the daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco (and therefore the grand- daughter of the late Grace Kelly) and Elmaleh is the Jew- ish, Moroccan-born actor and comedian who has been called the "Jerry Seinfeld of France." The two became engaged this summer. Mazel tov! Casting news: Rudd in 'Ant- Man,' Gad in 'Gilligan's Island' Paul Rudd has won what may have been the first head- to-head competition between two boyishly handsome Jew- ish stars for the role of a superhero. The Wrap reports that Rudd will play Henry Pym in Marvel's "Ant-Man," instead of their first choice, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who passed in order to commit to another comic book adaptation, the WB's "Sandman." Some may doubt the "An- chorman 2" star's ability to pull it off, but we have faith. Rudd's a funny guy with great comic timing--something that seems necessary for a film about a guy whose power is becoming teeny. More from the goofy Jewish actor front: "Book of Mormon" star Josh Gad will appear in a remake of the 1960s TVseries "Gilligan's Island," Dead- line reports. It hasn't been announced which role Gad will play, but for some reason we have him pegged as a certain bumbling, floppy-hat-wearing seaman. Gad also co-wrote the script. Drew Barrymore-Adam Sandier reunion If you've been counting the days until Adam Sandier and Drew Barrymore would co-star again in a romantic comedy, well, you've been counting awhile. It's been 10 years since "50 First Dates" and 15 since "The Wedding Singer." Finally, though, the two are back together. In "Blended," Sandler and Barrymore play a couple who, after an epically bad first date, end up together in a family resort with their kids from previous marriages. The twist? Barrymore and Sandler wind Africa, on safari. Wacky hijinks, including parachuting, fart jokes and plenty of cameos by exotic animals ensue. For the latest Jewish celeb- " rity news, visit JTA's 6Degrees (no Bacon) blog. Swedish county eyeing ban on circumcision (JTA)--A county in Swe- den is moving ahead with plans to ban the nonmedi- cal circumcision of boys, its leading elected official said. Per-Ola Mattsson, the commissioner of Blekinge County, said he will bring up a ban on the practice with the county's health board in February, accord- ing to an article published Thursday by the Sydostran Daily. According to the Dagens Medicin medical news site, Mattsson, who is also chair- man of the Public Health Board of Blekinge, said he opposes the practice because minors "have no possibility to say no to the surgery and therefore the county should not perform these procedures." Located in southern Swe- den, Blekinge County has a population of about 150,000. In Sweden, nonmedical and medical circumcision may be performed only by licensed professionals, as per legisla- tion from 2001. Under the legislation, Jew- ish ritual circumcisers, or mohelim, in Sweden receive their licenses from the coun- try's health board, but a nurse or doctor must still be pres- ent when they perform the procedure. Representatives of the country's Jewish commu- nity told JTA they are pleased with the arrangement, as it does not prevent them from performing the ritual. In recent years, Scandi- navian countries have seen an intensification of efforts to ban ritual circumcision by activists who say it vio- lates children's rights and by anti-immigration na- tionalists who seek to limit the effect that Muslim pres- ence is having on Swedish society. In September, the rightist Sweden Democrats Party submitted a motion in parliament in favor of banning ritual circumci- sion. In October, the children's ombudsmen of all Nordic countries--Finland, Ice- land, Denmark, Sweden and Norway--released a joint declaration proposing a ban on circumcision.