NBA Cheerleader Salary [2022]

I noticed that one of the most overlooked aspects of the NBA is the cheerleaders of each organization and how they provide entertainment to basketball fans like us.

Professional and college basketball games would not be the same without the cheerleaders. They are crucial in bringing a competitive and electrifying energy to the stadium.

At first glance, you would probably think these NBA cheerleaders earn a lot of money. What if I tell you that they receive a certain amount for each game?

Read on as I explain how much your average NBA cheerleader salary amounts to.

What Does The Average NBA Cheerleader Job Look Like?

Most cheerleaders, if not all cheerleaders in the NBA, are highly skilled dancers. They are professionally trained in highly technical dance routines and help pump up the atmosphere and fans in the arena.

NBA cheerleaders are no different from those in other sports. They practice every day, train their bodies to be able to cope with the active lifestyle, and regularly rehearse their routines.

An NBA cheerleader will have to perform in regular NBA games, the NBA All-Star game (depending on where the team is based), and any other event as long as it is part of their team’s calendar of events.

If the fans are not enough to provide moral support to the basketball players, the cheerleaders are there to liven them up.

What Are The Qualifications To Become An NBA Cheerleader?

For women to be NBA cheerleaders, they need to prepare to meet the high expectations of what’s needed to be a cheerleader of a professional NBA team.

This does not mean that if you can do all these things, you will immediately become a cheerleader.

An NBA team can have different qualifications for their cheerleading profession. The job does not solely rely on one’s dancing abilities, but rather the entire package.

As a cheer dancer, you need to be talented, hardworking, and patient in order for NBA teams to notice you.

What Is To Be Expected Of A New NBA Cheerleader?

These are some of the conditions that cheerleaders must fulfill if they want to keep their cheerleading job.

1. Practice Sessions

As a cheerleader, they are expected to be gifted in dancing or at least willing to practice many times to perfect the art of dance.

Many say that you cannot accept other professions if you wish to go full time as an NBA cheerleader.

Part of the profession is to maintain a physically fit body, attend dance classes, and perform in an NBA game when required.

Don’t worry. According to data about practice sessions, a single practice session earns the dancer $30. However, some teams compensate better than others, so the rate varies.

2. Special Events

When an NBA team is required to go to a special event, the cheerleading squad follows.

These special events are made to keep fans entertained outside the basketball games and maintain a healthy relationship with them.

These events may include international appearances, charity events, and other special appearances.

Again, the compensation for these events varies from team to team. One NBA team can be more popular than the others, making the salary higher than usual.

3. NBA Games

The games are where the majority of cheerleaders get paid the most.

Before, the rate would be between $50 to $100, but nowadays, depending on the organization, the pay ranges from $200 to $600 per game.

There is nothing much to say about this part other than this is where the cheerleaders are needed the most and why the job exists in the first place.

How Much Do NBA Cheerleaders Get Paid Per Game?

I have listed below an overview of how much each NBA team’s cheerleading squad pays. The overview provides the salary for every match, how much the bonus pay is, and the annual salary.

New York Knicks Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $650
  • Bonuses – $2,000
  • Annual Salary – $35,000

Los Angeles Lakers Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $600
  • Bonuses – $1,500
  • Annual Salary – $30,000

Boston Celtics Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $600
  • Bonuses – $1,500
  • Annual Salary – $30,000

Atlanta Hawks Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $650
  • Bonuses – $2,000
  • Annual Salary – $35,000

Cleveland Cavaliers Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $400
  • Bonuses – $1,000
  • Annual Salary – $28,000

Toronto Raptors Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $500
  • Bonuses – $1,000
  • Annual Salary – $28,000

Washington Wizards Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $400
  • Bonuses – $1,500
  • Annual Salary – $28,000

Milwaukee Bucks Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $350
  • Bonuses – $1,000
  • Annual Salary – $22,000

Miami Heat Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $500
  • Bonuses – $1,500
  • Annual Salary – $28,000

Indiana Pacers Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $400
  • Bonuses – $1,000
  • Annual Salary – $28,000

Los Angeles Clippers Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $350
  • Bonuses – $950
  • Annual Salary – $22,000

Minnesota Timberwolves Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $200
  • Bonuses – $700
  • Annual Salary – $15,000

Chicago Bulls Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $200
  • Bonuses – $700
  • Annual Salary – $15,000

Golden State Warriors Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $550
  • Bonuses – $1,000
  • Annual Salary – $30,000

Memphis Grizzlies Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $350
  • Bonuses – $800
  • Annual Salary – $22,000

Oklahoma City Thunder Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $250
  • Bonuses – $800
  • Annual Salary – $18,000

Orlando Magic Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $200
  • Bonuses – $700
  • Annual Salary – $15,000

Philadelphia 76ers Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $200
  • Bonuses – $700
  • Annual Salary – $15,000

Phoenix Suns Cheerleaders

  • Salary for Every Match – $200
  • Bonuses – $700
  • Annual Salary – $15,000

Who Are the Highest-Paid Cheerleaders in the NBA?

Out of all the teams listed, the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks cheerleading squads are the highest-paid cheerleaders in the NBA.

A team like the Boston Celtics is close to claiming that title, but the Knicks and the Hawks, with good pay and a great bonus, make them the top paying squads, especially if their team makes the NBA playoffs.

Essentially, salaries for these cheerleaders depend on their organizations and how they allocate their budget throughout the season.

Some are paid more than others, and that’s just how it goes.

What Are Some Problems NBA Cheerleaders Experience?

In previous years, problems were still at an all-time high. The NBA cheerleading job did not pay well.

How much do NBA cheerleaders make back then per NBA game and season?

In an ESPN report dated 2017, NBA cheerleaders earn between $75 to 150 per game. When comparing it to the US minimum wage, it may not look as bad.

If you compare how much NBA cheerleaders earn back then to the NBA players they share the court with, the difference is as clear as black and white.

How Did The Pay Increase For NBA Cheerleading?

Standing up for yourself, especially how NBA cheerleaders did, will take you far. This was what occurred when the first lawsuit by an NBA cheerleader for low pay was filed.

Lauren Herington, one of the good cheerleaders for the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2015, filed a lawsuit against the organization for low pay. The case has since been settled.

The lawsuit sparked a difference in the cheerleading scene in the NBA.

Nowadays, NBA cheerleaders and other professional dancers get paid salaries between $200 and $650 per game, with bonuses like free guest tickets, free parking, and free travel.

Final Thoughts

You may think that the NBA cheerleader salary may not be the highest, considering they cheer for some of the most popular teams in sports and that many women take up the job.

However, slowly but surely, the average NBA cheerleader will be a profession women can be proud of. It will prove to be more than just dancing and become comparable to other professions.

NBA teams and players participating in NBA games may earn more money than NBA cheerleaders make. They do not even perform the hard dance routines these women do.

But at the end of the day, the passion for dancing keeps these professional cheerleaders going. The spirit of basketball will never be complete without the NBA cheerleaders.