How Much Do NBA Cheerleaders Make? [2021 Details]

In NBA games, images of young and fiery cheerleaders always attract our eyes. They are an indispensable ingredient to increase the temperature for any match.

With a role like that, how much do NBA cheerleaders make? ESPN’s report found cheerleaders can earn between $75 and $150 per three-hour game.

Join Langley Rams to dig deeper into the world of the NBA cheerleader, the requirements and conditions for existence. You will learn more about them behind the curtain.

How Much Do NBA Cheerleaders Make?

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The NBA cheerleader salary is relatively low

NBA cheerleaders are usually independent employees. They don’t have official employee benefits like health insurance or other benefits in a cheerleading contract.

Their average salary seems high, but not everyone can afford them. This industry is highly diverse and has an extreme elimination rate. Cheerleaders will receive $75 and $150 per three-hour game. Some veteran cheerleaders can get from $400 – $650 per game.

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at cheerleaders’ salaries in special events. Let’s find out together.

1. Practice

The cheerleader’s job is to dance and do complex movements to the rhythm of the music to stir up the atmosphere. It means that they cannot master it immediately but will have to go through a practice period.

Teams typically require cheerleaders to practice for about eight hours per week.

NBA cheerleaders get paid about $30 for each such practice session. In other cases, the team will calculate the hours and pay an amount at the end of the match.

2. Special Events

The appearance of professional cheerleaders in major sporting events or tournaments is inevitable. Increasing the energy of the event and welcoming guests and spectators is their primary purpose.

After the event ends, teams can pay a bonus to the cheerleader team. And just like that. The unfair problem is that they won’t pay for travel-related expenses, especially at local events.

These costs may be small, but it adds up to a considerable amount when added together in a year.

Some professional basketball teams will even pay NBA cheerleaders for each international appearance with a fee of $50-100. But that’s not the case for everyone.

3. NBA Gamedays

Unlike you might imagine, cheerleaders often have to arrive quite early to prepare and fix their costumes. You can see them perform for only three hours, but in reality, it takes them six to eight hours.

This fact makes their salary from $75 – 150 per game relatively meaningless. People say that cheerleaders need to be rewarded more, and I agree with them.

This salary conflict is even related to the law. The highlighted example is the scandal between the Milwaukee Bucks and their NBA cheerleader – Lauren Herington, with a lawsuit dragged on for three years, starting in 2017.

Lauren Herington alleges that the Milwaukee Bucks do not comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act of the United States. She works up to forty hours a week, not counting overtime.

The team paid her $30 per practice session, $50 for events, and $65 per NBA game, respectively. It equates to $4.50 per hour, much less than the minimum wage.

Not all lawsuits go smoothly for NBA cheerleaders, though. In the case of the NBA team Buffalo Bills, they fired their entire “the Jills” cheerleader team.

This salary issue has a lot to do with each individual’s perspective when entering the industry. Some people fully accept the average price. Some will see this as labor exploitation.

4. Other Perks And Benefits

NBA teams also guarantee several other benefits besides salary for their cheerleading team. These include:

  • Cover all travel expenses when you are selected to appear in an NBA All-Star game.
  • Bonus for cheerleaders of the team making it to the playoffs.
  • Free parking at the arena as well as free tickets.
  • More stipends for special occasions.

How To Be An NBA Cheerleader? Every Detail You Should Know

What do you think of the information regarding the salary of an NBA cheerleader? Would you like to be one of them? If you are interested, the next section will give you an overview of this industry.

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A cheerleader must have a flexible body and stamina

1. History of NBA Cheerleaders

In American culture, cheerleading is a traditional activity with a long history. It goes back to the date of World War II when women gradually took over the work when men joined it. Their predecessors were sports such as gymnastics or acrobatics.

Professional cheerleader career was officially discovered when Texx Schramm, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, came up with a business idea. The image of girls in appealing clothes and dancing moves attracted the audience’s eyes to increase ticket sales.

In the long run, everyone learned this trick, and cheerleading became a full-fledged profession.

2. Job Description

The cheerleaders’ perfect dances made the atmosphere in the hall more vibrant and passionate. They are the ones who help increase the excitement of the audience and players in the game.

Cheerleading teams can also appear at conferences or charity events as a way of marketing for the team. Sometimes they also act as the spokesperson or model of the group.

3. Requirements

You won’t be able to wake up one morning and be a cheerleader in this professional sports environment.

The essential foundation of a cheerleader is choreography. Prepare yourself for a good dance background by taking relevant classes. A few suggestions that I have for you are modern dance or hip-hop classes.

Consulting in advance about the dance style of the NBA team you want to join is also good advice.

Building strength and endurance are also significant. Cheerleaders will often have pretty intense dance routines. It will help if you expect to practice all day long.

Usually, teams will recruit cheerleaders through audition rounds. You can refer to the exam questions in advance and understand each section’s individual preferences and colors to get the best results.

The Reasons To Become An NBA Cheerleader

As you know, the salary and benefits for cheerleaders are not worth it. However, there are still many people who love and join this industry every year. Do you wonder why? Find out in this section!

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Reasons why they become cheerleaders

1. The Passion 

The most straightforward reason is that they love the job. Some cheerleaders feel the happiest and happiest when wearing flashy outfits and dancing fiery dances on stage. Friendship and eagerness to face the audience are also some of the main reasons.

2. The Perks

Cheerleaders still have the perks that we outlined above. The use of free gym services or delicious meals is also quite attractive.

3. The Fame 

As a cheerleader, you will also be part of the team in the eyes of the fans. With their support and love, your work will become smoother. There are several cases of famous entertainers who turned to modeling or acting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s find the answers to the questions you still have about NBA cheerleaders in this section.

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The Boston Celtics cheerleading team

1. Which are the NBA teams with the highest pay for cheerleaders?

Some NBA teams have excellent compensation and benefits for their cheerleaders. There are four typical teams in this list including:

  • New York Knicks: With $650 per game and $2000 for a bonus.
  • Los Angeles Lakers: They pay $600 per game and $1500 for an extra bonus.
  • Boston Celtics: With $600 per game, they pay $1500 for a bonus.
  • Atlanta Hawks: They pay cheerleading teams $650 per game and $2000 as a bonus.

Their cheerleading team dance moves are really skillful. Let’s watch this video to see it with us.

2. What is the age requirement for a cheerleader?

To be a cheerleader, you must be at least 21 years old. In addition, no parameters related to age or height are required.

3. Can NBA players date their cheerleaders?

There are a few cases involving players and cheerleaders dating. Those people may be on the same team or in two different sports. However, we don’t recommend this because it involves quite a lot of personal problems.

4. Can cheerleaders have tattoos?

Absolutely no. They are not allowed to have any tattoos or jewelry on their bodies as cheerleaders.

No matter how great their faces and skills are, the manager will kick them out of the team if they have tattoos.

5. Is there any NBA team with no cheerleaders?

There is only one team, the San Antonio Spurs.

Final Thoughts

When you understand more about NBA cheerleader salary, you will see that their work is hard, and the money they receive is not commensurate with the effort. Hopefully, in the future, we will see an improvement to this issue.

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