How Much Is The Salary Of A NBA Cheerleader?

NBA cheerleader salary

When fans attend to watch an NBA game, during halftime or time out, they see the beautiful young ladies with makeup dancing and smiling to entertain the crowd. Yes, they may seem to have a good salary because they are stepping on to the court like the players, but the fact is they don’t really get paid enough

But the honest truth is, NBA cheerleaders enjoy dancing and entertaining the crowd despite the low stipend they get after the game. Cheerleaders are like freelancers that work per hour and get paid per hour. Today we will be discussing the life of an NBA cheerleader, and how much they get paid for their efforts.

How Much Is The Salary Of An NBA Cheerleader?

According to ESPN last 2017, an NBA cheerleader salary is between $75 and $150 per game. You may think that this is a good stipend for three hours of the game, however, once you break down all their personal expenses, that amount becomes very small. Cheerleaders are also considered as independent contractors, it means that cheerleaders do not receive any health insurance or benefits from each gig.

Do NBA Cheerleaders Get Paid In Practice?

To make the performance perfect, cheerleaders put effort into choreographing and practicing their dance steps. Some reports announced that some organizations paid their cheerleaders for attending the practice and some didn’t. Most NBA cheerleaders practice eight hours per week. Some cheerleader teams get a stipend of $30-$50 per session but others are getting an overall payment per game.

Special Events Salary

Most teams have special events and they need cheerleaders to hype up the fans and boost the energy of the event. Those events also take time and most of the teams pay their cheerleaders for another stipend for special events, sadly, their travel expenses are not always paid.

Gameday Salary

Like every player in the team, cheerleaders are required to be in the arena hours before tip-off to apply some finishing touches on their routines, get dressed, and ready to entertain the crowd. Some reports said that the cheerleader’s schedule is 3-8 hours and if you hear that they make between $70 to $150, you may say that their salary is bullsh*t or the owners of the franchise are too selfish.  

Other Benefits Of Being A NBA Cheerleader

NBA cheerleaders get some benefits that go along with their pay. Some argued that this is not still enough to make up the pay difference.

These are some perks an NBA cheerleader gets:

  • If you get selected to cheer in the NBA All-Star game, travel expenses are covered. 
  • Cheerleaders get more money if their team make it to the playoffs
  • Free tickets and free parking at the arena
  • More money for special events

Let me ask you a question. Do you think that these benefits are enough to cover up the organization’s neglect to the cheerleader’s salary?

NBA Cheerleader Salary Controversy 

After knowing the real salary of an NBA cheerleader, you may be thinking the same thing I did while researching this topic: NBA cheerleaders need more money!

In 2017, Lauren Herington sued the Milwaukee Bucks for violating the U.S labor standards act. Herington reported that she was paid $30 per practice, $65 per game, and a special appearance fee of $50 per event. Herington puts her forty hours per week in cheering, without overtime and when she calculated her pay, the results were $4.50/hour. It is below the minimum wage rate which is $7.25 per hour.

This case is not only happening in the NBA but also in some sports leagues like the NFL. Other sports organizations disbanded their cheerleading team rather than giving them a raise and it is not a good thing to do. Cheerleaders are not asking for more money, they want a fair salary for the efforts and time they put in cheering, practicing, and entertaining the crowd.

Cheerleaders are part of the team organization as they help to ease the boredom of the fans during halftime or timeouts. They needed to be treated fairly and value their time and efforts they put in during practice and on the court. 

How To Be An NBA Cheerleader?

What education is required to be a professional NBA cheerleader? The real requirement you need is to have dancing skills and to have a great love in the art of dance. You may notice that some cheerleaders look so young this is because some cheerleaders are college students that use their free time to work to pay their college bills. 

The NBA is consistently on the hunt for good cheerleaders. They also offer classes for amateurs that are willing to work for them as a cheerleader. This will give the cheerleaders a better understanding of the teams dancing routines. 

NBA cheerleaders should also have physical fitness and they should be healthy to remain energetic for the entire duration of the game and to avoid physical injuries. 

Salary Of NBA Cheerleaders In 2020

Cheerleaders Team Per Match Fees Extra Bonus Annual Payscale
New York Knicks Cheerleaders $650 $2,000 $35,000
LA Lakers Cheerleaders $600 $1,500 $30,000
Boston Celtics Cheerleaders $600 $1,500 $30,000
Atlanta Hawks Cheerleaders $650 $2,000 $35,000
Cleveland Cavaliers Cheerleaders $400 $1,000 $28,000
Toronto Raptors Cheerleaders $500 $1,000 $28,000
Washington Wizards Cheerleaders $400 $1,500 $28,000
Milwaukee Bucks Cheerleaders $350 $1,000 $22,000
Miami Heat Cheerleaders $500 $1,500 $28,000
Indiana Pacers Cheerleaders $400 $1,000 $28,000
LA Clippers Cheerleaders $350 $950 $22,000
Minnesota Timberwolves Cheerleaders $200 $700 $15,000
Chicago Bulls Cheerleaders $200 $700 $15,000
Golden State Warriors Cheerleaders $550 $1,000 $30,000
Memphis Grizzlies Cheerleaders $350 $800 $22,000
Oklahoma City Thunder Cheerleaders $250 $800 $18,000
Orlando Magic Cheerleaders $200 $700 $15,000
Philadelphia 76ers Cheerleaders $200 $700 $15,000
Phoenix Suns Cheerleaders $200 $700 $15,000


Some of you may think that these cheerleaders aren’t enjoying what they are doing. The fact is that most cheerleaders love to dance and love to cheer for their team. There is no greater feeling than being in the thick of the action and cheering on your favorite team.

Cheering and dancing in front of the crowd is not easy as you think and practicing 40 hours a week can drain a cheerleader’s energy. Cheerleaders need to get paid right and they should be treated as a human being, not a robot. 

Even though some sports leagues have paid their offense for violating the U.S labor standards act, we should continue to promote the fairness of salaries for minimum wage workers like the cheerleaders. 

NBA Cheerleader Videos

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