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When it comes to professional basketball games, what comes to mind? Cool players, crazy fans, or pretty cheerleaders? Cheerleaders are a very important element in a game. They bring entertainment to the audience as well as improve the competitive spirit of the players. So, how much do NBA cheerleaders make? Let’s find out with Scott Fujita through the following article.

How Much Do NBA Cheerleaders Make?

According to information from ESPN in 2017, cheerleaders earn between $75 to $150 per NBA game. Many people think that it is a great reward for a match lasting 3 hours. However, once you know everything related to their work, that amount of money may not seem like a good payoff.

In addition, NBA cheerleaders do not receive health insurance or other benefits from their contracts.

But, many things have changed in the industry. More and more teams pay handsome salaries to their cheerleading teams.

Some NBA cheerleaders can even earn between $400 and $650 per game. This is a well-deserved reward for these hardworking cheerleaders.

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Currently, the best-paying cheerleading teams are:

  • New York Knicks
  • Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Atlanta Hawks.
  • Boston Celtics.

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How Much Does an NBA Cheerleader Get Paid?

Practice sessions

A cheerleader will have to perform many jobs related to cheerleading. They have to regularly attend dance classes and practice sessions to maintain their appearance. 

Therefore, they do not have enough time to engage in other earning activities. That means they can only make money through cheerleading activities.

According to previous data, each NBA cheerleader gets about $30 per practice session. However, many teams compensate their cheerleaders better. Therefore, we can expect that ratio to be higher.

Special events

Cheerleaders are an essential part of the team. So, sometimes they have to make special appearances. It often happens in cities where basketball is very popular. Most cheerleaders receive compensation on these special occasions.

Some teams only pay for international appearances and not for local events. In general, each cheerleader receives between $50 and $100 for each special event.


Like the basketball team, NBA cheerleaders spend months practicing for a few hours or days of game time. According to previous figures, each NBA cheerleader receives up to $150 per game. 

However, this number can quadruple in some cases. Many teams still pay around $200 per cheerleader per game. Teams at the top of the NBA rankings can even pay between $400 and $650.

Added benefits

In addition to the remuneration received, NBA cheerleaders also enjoy many other added benefits. These include:

  • Free use of the gym.
  • Free game tickets.
  • Free parking.
  • Free spa treatments.
  • And more.

Each team will apply for its own added benefits. Shortly, it is highly likely that the NBA will set common standards regarding cheerleader benefits.

What is an NBA Cheerleader Job?

The group cheerleaders are highly skilled dancers. They are the women who perform high-tech dance moves at an NBA game. They can increase the fan base for their team. Therefore, they have a significant role.

Cheerleaders usually practice for hours every day. In addition to attending the NBA game, they also participate in charity or fundraising events. In addition, they can also interact with the audience at events.

Industry History

Cheerleading is a fairly old activity in basketball culture in America. It was originally an activity exclusively for Ivy League Schools. Especially at that time, it was men who took on this role.

In World War II, men had to join the war. Therefore, women must shoulder this role. To diversify cheerleading, they added acrobatics and gymnastics.

Professional cheerleaders officially began in 1970. That’s when Texx Schramm, owner of the Dallas Cowboys at the time, saw great benefit from cheerleading. At the time,  he suggested that the use of glamorous women cheerleaders could increase match ticket sales.

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Most NBA cheerleaders earn between $75 and $150 per game.

Scandals Related to Cheerleader Salaries

There have been many lawsuits related to cheerleader remuneration. Perhaps the best way for basketball teams to raise cheerleaders’ pay is when someone takes them to court.

An example of this is the lawsuit between Lauren Herington and the Milwaukee Bucks. Specifically, Lauren Herington sued this team. The reason is that they did not meet the Fair Labor Standards Act requirements. 

It started when she realized that her remuneration was less than the minimum wage. After three years since the start of the lawsuit, Lauren Herington received a sizable compensation in 2017.

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Lauren Herington sued Milwaukee Bucks when she realized that her remuneration was less than the minimum wage.

In addition to Lauren Herington’s lawsuit, there are many other lawsuits related to NBA teams and their cheerleaders. However, not everyone has such a happy ending. The Buffalo Bills fired their cheerleaders instead of paying them a bigger payout.

Erica Wilkins also sued the Dallas Cowboys for reasons related to cheerleader’s remuneration. Fortunately, the lawsuit ended with the entire cheerleading team getting a raise.

Conditions to Become an NBA Cheerleader

You can’t be an NBA cheerleader just because you want to. This job requires you to work hard and dedicate yourself for many years. 

All the cheerleaders have pretty faces and well-proportioned bodies. Also, most of them used to go to dancing school. 

Hence, in addition to improving your looks, you should also take a few different dance classes. Some good options for you are hip hop dance, contemporary dance, belly dance, and Zumba. 

Taking some dance classes will give you a considerable advantage when applying for a cheerleader position.

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NBA teams are always looking for good cheerleaders.

Each cheerleading team has its to ance style. In many cases, they can also provide a routine to repeat during your auditions. It helps cheerleaders understand the team’s standards. In addition, they can also get used to the intensity of passion required to accompany the team.

There are a lot of people with good skills who want to join the cheerleading squad. As a result, auditions can be very harsh. With intense passion and high determination, you will surely pass those brutal auditions easily.

Why Do So Many People Want to Be NBA Cheerleaders?

Through people like Erica Wilkins and Lauren Herington, we’ve learned the dark side of cheerleaders. However, a lot of people are still willing to join the cheerleading squads. So why?

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 NBA cheerleaders make the halftime break less boring for spectators.

1. They love it!

For many people, cheerleaders are their lifelong dream. The reason is that they love it.

They love the hustle and bustle of this job. The cheerleaders like to appear in front of passionate fans with close members of the team. Team members can even create a special bond that keeps them together forever.

2. The fame 

During an NBA game, most fans always pay attention to the cheerleaders. Many cheerleaders have a lot of fans thanks to cheerleading wildly for their basketball team. Thanks to that, many cheerleaders have turned to other professions, such as actors or models.

3. Great benefits

Although the salaries of NBA cheerleaders are not very high, they also enjoy additional benefits. NBA cheerleaders get free travel, free use of modern gyms and spas, free parking, and more. Therefore, this is the lifelong dream of many girls.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can NBA  cheerleaders have tattoos?

NBA cheerleaders may have tattoos or piercings. However, this is not. If you have tattoos, you should wear makeup to cover visible tattoos.

2. What is the minimum age to become an NBA cheerleader?

As a rule, you need to be 21 years old to become an NBA cheerleader.

3. Can NBA players date the cheerleaders?

The short answer is yes. However, this is rarely the case. There are many good reasons for players not to date cheerleaders.

4. How do I become an NFL dancer?

To become an NFL cheerleader, you will need to meet many conditions. First, you must be 18 years old. You need a GED certificate. 

If not, you need to graduate from high school. According to the rules of some teams like the Atlanta Falcons, you need to be a college student or have a full-time or part-time job.

5. Are cheerleaders important?

They are essential to the team. NBA, NFL, NHL are always looking for good cheerleaders.

6. Can I become an NBA cheerleader if I am not flexible?

NBA cheerleaders must be flexible. Most of them take dance classes. You can improve your flexibility by practicing daily.

Over time, your skills will get better. If you are persistent, luck will come to you.

Final Thoughts

Professional cheerleader is not the highest paying job right now. However, not everyone can do this job. 

Professional cheerleader activities are making good progress in terms of remuneration. More and more people are speaking out and fighting them. Therefore, they will have better days in the future!

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