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How Much Money Do NBA Cheerleaders Make?

How Much Money Do NBA Cheerleaders Make

By Ball Till We Fall, Last Updated May 29, 2022

Category: Basketball Facts and Stats

It may seem as though NBA cheerleaders are living the good life, sharing in the billions of dollars of earnings the NBA rakes in each year. In this post, you will learn precisely how much money NBA cheerleaders earn.

The amount of money NBA cheerleaders actually make per year may shock you!

NBA Cheerleaders Look Happy, But Are They Getting Paid Enough?

NBA Cheerleader Pay Rate

From an outsider's view, the life of an NBA cheerleader may seem extremely glamorous. Fans see these beautiful young women in great makeup and fake tan smiling at them as they cheer on the fans. 

The cheerleaders are a delight to the crowd, making it seem easy with their choreographed dance routines during stoppages. 

They are happy to be there, and all eyes are on them.

They seem to have a genuine love for the crowd, the game and dancing.

They see the court just as much as the players.

But what about their salaries in comparison to the NBA stars? 

Let's take deep dive into the daily life of an NBA cheerleader and what they are paid for their efforts.

A Brief History Of Cheerleaders In The NBA

NBA Cheerleader Pay Rate

Before we take a look at pay rate let's take a quick look at the history of cheerleading to see where it all began.

Cheerleading is a tradition in American culture.

Cheerleading was originally a male dominated activity that was reserved for Ivy League Schools.

The activity was taken over by women after World War II when the men were engaged in war.

To spice it up, the women added acrobatics to the mix, and eventually it evolved into what we
now know.

Professional cheerleading was born in the 1970s when Texx Schramm (then the Dallas Cowboys owner) saw an opportunity. 

He believed that cheerleaders who were sexy and sensual could increase game ticket sales

Tex Schramm knew that sex sells and his, move was very successful.

In fact, it was so successful that within just a few years most other professional sporting teams' cheerleaders took on a more provocative look.

An NBA Cheerleaders Job Description

Cheerleaders must have basic dancing skills and be comfortable with contemporary hip hop, Zumba, and belly dancing.

They must also be fit enough to perform in rehearsals and on stage.

And most importantly of all, they should look great in their revealing uniforms.

According to reports, some have been forced to lose weight and adhere to weight restrictions.

They practice for hours to perfect their dance moves. Most dance for 12+ hours per week.

NBA cheerleaders also need to have a flexible work schedule to attend events to promote the team.

How Much Do NBA Cheerleaders Earn?

Who Are The Highest Paid NBA Cheerleaders?

An ESPN report from 2017 states that NBA cheerleaders earned between $75 to $150 per game.

It's not bad for a few hours work, even if you consider the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

It's peanuts when you consider the salary of the people they share the court with and the amount of money the NBA profits as a business each year.

The pay has risen slightly since then, possibly due to lawsuits brought by former cheerleaders over their low salaries.

Lauren Herrington, a former NBA cheerleader and complainant for low salary filed a lawsuit against the Milwaukee Bucks in 2015.

The team settled.

Similar cases have been filed against NFL cheerleaders.

Let's take a look at some of the cheerleader payrates from teams around the league.


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Which NBA Team Has The Highest Paid Cheerleaders?

New York Knicks Are The Highest Paid NBA Cheerleaders

The New York Knicks has the highest-paid cheerleaders.

They get $650 per match, plus a bonus of $2,000. 

This is approximately $35,000 per year.

Next are the LA Lakers and Boston Celtics dancers/cheer squad. 

They get $600 pergame plus a $1500 bonus. 

The annual rate is about $30,000.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic are among the lowest-paying teams.

They receive a $200 per game payout and a $700 bonus for a total of around $15000 annually.

It is highly unlikely and unrealistic to beleive that an NBA cheerleaders' salaries will ever be anywhere close to the salaries of the NBA players they cheer for. 

Why Cheerleaders Love Their Job Even With A Low Pay Rate?

Benefits Of Being An NBA Cheerleader

Although cheerleading may not provide a high income lifestyle, there are definetly some perks with this job. 

All expenses are paid for these women.

Cheerleaders have access to corporate events, gyms, makeup and spa treatments, parking and travel. 

Many of these cheerleaders also have side hussles that may make them some extra cash on the side 😉

Final Thoughts On NBA Cheerleader Pay

Although professional cheerleading still has some way to go before they can earn a lavious living, there are positive signs.

Future cheerleaders will be better off financialy if more people speak out and fight for their rights. 

Although it isn't the most lucrative job, the glamour and glitz make it worth it for most dancers.

They get to do what they love most. Dance for a living! 

Now you know exactly how much money NBA cheerleaders make, do you think it a fair amount to earn for their efforts and lifestyle?

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