For NBA fan Nick Perkovic, being brought out onto the court and recognized in front of thousands of basketball fans was surreal.
The 26-year-old Downey resident has worked at Staples Center for nearly three years, starting as an usher and working himself up to supervisor of the department. Now, he was being honored by the Los Angeles Clippers as a part of the team’s Clippers C.A.R.E. program, which recognizes outstanding customer service for Staples Center employees.
“The Clippers like to honor the Staples Center employees, whether it’s the guest services department, security department,” said Perkovic. “Everyone who’s helping out because it’s all part of the Clippers since they’re in the Staples Center.
Perkovic was nominated for the award after attending to a fan whose ticket was not working, with his daughter about to participate in the pregame activities.
Because of his actions, Perkovic was honored right before tip off when the Clippers hosted the Sacramento Kings last week.
There’s just one problem.
“I’m actually a Laker fan,” says Perkovic.
Perkovic has been a basketball fan since he was young. Some of his favorite players include Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Lebron James, to name a few.
Receiving the C.A.R.E. award put him in a position he never imagined he would be in.
“When I was younger I would just think, ‘oh I’ll come to a game and check it out,’” said Perkovic. “But I would never think that I would be actually standing out on the court.”
Though honored by the experience, he says he was just “doing his job.”
“I always like to set myself, every shift, to do as best as I can,” says Perkovic. “But now this even pushes me even further to do more I can.”
And what about being honored by his favorite team’s “Hallway Series” rivals?
“When I heard I got this award, I didn’t even think about that,” said Perkovic. “…I didn’t even think about the sport fan in me.”