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The Workers Clippers and Lakers

  • April 24, 2023

“It’s chaos,” said Darryl Jackson, an event operations assistant manager for the arena. “But it’s organized. Organized chaos.” He began his career working on conversions, but now helps to make sure the baskets during basketball games and the glass during hockey games stay in good condition.

Minutes after Game 4 of the first-round series between the Clippers and the Phoenix Suns finished Saturday, Loreto Verdugo backed a forklift down an aisle between the court and the first row of grandstand seats. He had just a couple of inches of space on either side of him. After years of doing this task, he wasn’t nearly as nervous as he was the first time he did it.

“You don’t want to hit the floor because the floor’s the most important thing out there,” Verdugo said. “But you don’t want to hit anybody else either.”

He had quietly left his home in North Hollywood at 4 a.m. (“I’m like a mouse,” he said) to be at the arena in time to begin supervising maintenance work.

As soon as the Clippers’ game ended, just before 3 p.m., and all of the people had been cleared from the court, a bustle of expertly choreographed activity began. By the time the Clippers’ players began their postgame interviews, workers had bagged fans’ trash, and the player and logo banners the Clippers hang in the rafters had been rolled up to reveal the gold-colored championship banners for the Lakers and the W.N.B.A.’s Los Angeles Sparks, who have also shared the arena for much of the past two decades.

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