After Game 5 of the NBA finals on Tuesday, one season ticket-holder escaped the post-game fray and made his play for the court, flashing a couple of hundred dollar bills at the security guard.
But the security guard he attempted to bribe was Loretta Wilcher, and that wasn’t gonna fly. “I told him I couldn’t take money from him. He was trying to force it on me, and one of my supervisors had to physically escort him off the floor,” Wilcher said. “Sometimes you get those season ticket-holders who feel entitled.”
Wilcher has worked security at Chase Center for three years, and she can’t lie — working the NBA Finals, she feels extra special. She admits her job requires her to watch the crowd for inappropriate behavior or brawls more than to watch the game. Still, she says, there’s that NBA finals feeling in the air..
“Just the whole energy of being there makes you feel good,” she said.
And she’ll sneak peeks. “You know that something [important] happens because of the crowd’s reaction, and you can turn around and see the big screen, and see something going on.”
The finals means spectators go all out. One standout pair of women regularly don a “blonde, blonde, blonde” wig and “ blue wig,” Wilcher said, and two nights ago a couple of men sported glitzy blue and yellow suits. “They were really hot. I wanted to take their picture, but I couldn’t. We’re not allowed.”
Wilcher guards the floor section closest to the visiting team’s bench. Keeping the visiting players safe is just as important as guarding the home team, she said. “They are young and away from home. They have to be able to rely on us to make sure they are safe.”
What about those Celtics? “They’re huge,” Wilcher said. “I don’t know, maybe now I’m used to the Warriors. They don’t seem so tall anymore.”
Don’t get it twisted though: She bleeds gold. She started watching basketball games at Galileo High School, and her love for the sport has only grown. As a Bayview resident, the Warriors are naturally her favorite team. “It’s magic, the way they move,” she said. She is a fan of each player, though Steph Curry is her favorite.
She applied to work security following a career as a legal secretary, Muni driver, and a bout with breast cancer. With the exception of Journey concert fans, Chase Center attendees are pretty well-mannered, she said.
Wilcher gets a special pregame view,, since security guards must report hours early to prevent antics like fake Klay Thompson appearances. Tip-off for Game 5 was at 6 p.m., but Wilcher arrived at Chase Center at 3:30 p.m. sharp, dressed in the guards’ fly uniform of a black-and-white suit. The players hardly miss shots at practice, she said.
Deep into the playoffs, more celebrities populate the stands, but you can count on E-40’s presence year-round, she said. When she spotted Lil Wayne at Game 2, she lit up. “Why can’t he sit on my side?” she sighed.
For Game 6 she will work the indoor watch party. Chase Center, she said, is “a happy place —just like Disneyland.”