If you’ve been to an NBA game or didn’t switch the TV channel during a halftime break, you’ve probably seen cheerleaders light up the screens with their acrobatic dance moves during their beautifully choreographed routines. But, have you ever wondered, do you have what it takes to become one and how much do NBA cheerleaders make?
Figuring this out is a little confusing as they’re not exactly team employees, so they’re not paid a regular salary. Instead, teams pay them as contractors and are given perks instead of employee benefits. So, if you’re ready to learn everything you need about NBA cheerleader earnings, read on!
How Can You Become a Cheerleader in NBA?
Before we even think of how much cheerleaders make, it’s essential to know how to become a cheerleader in the first place. So, here are a few crucial qualifications of an NBA cheerleader:
- At least 18 years old
- High School diploma or GED equivalent holder
- Dance and cheerleading background
- Physically fit
- Flexible schedule to accommodate rehearsals
- Ability to learn new routines
- Have reliable transportation
- Be able to travel with the team
To become an NBA cheerleader, you will need to audition. The audition process typically consists of three parts: an interview, a fitness test, and a dance routine.
During the interview bit of the audition, judges will ask questions about your background and why you want to be a cheerleader. Next, the fitness test evaluates your physical abilities, such as stamina, flexibility, and strength. Finally, during the dance routine portion of the audition, you will be required to perform a short dance routine in front of the judges.
You will be asked to attend a training camp if you are selected as a finalist for a cheerleading position. Training camp is typically one week long and is held prior to the start of the NBA season. During training camp, you will learn cheers, dances, and stunts. At the end of training camp, there will be a final tryout where the judges will select the cheerleaders representing their team for the upcoming season.
Do You Need Training to Become an NBA Cheerleader?
To become an NBA cheerleader, you must undergo training in various dance and acrobatic disciplines. There is no specific route to becoming an NBA cheerleader, but most will have experience in competitive dance or gymnastics. Hip-hop and modern dance are also in demand in today’s routines. Some may also have a background in performing arts, such as theater or music.
The level of training required will vary depending on the team you wish to cheer for. Some teams may need you to audition with a specific routine, while others may hold open tryouts with no prior experience necessary. However, even if a team does not require tryouts, it is still recommended that you have some form of dance or acrobatic training before auditioning.
While there is no one specific way to become an NBA cheerleader, the following tips will help you prepare for your audition:
Practice your routines: If you are required to audition with a routine, practice it until you have it down perfectly. Remember that the routine should be both technically correct and aesthetically pleasing.
Learn multiple dance styles: Even if you are not required to audition with a routine, it is still beneficial to know various dance styles. This will show that you are versatile and can adapt to different choreography quickly.
Be physically fit: NBA cheerleaders are expected to be physically fit and toned. Make sure you are working on your fitness levels before your audition to perform at your best.
Who are the Highest Paid NBA Cheerleaders?
NBA cheerleader salary vary from team to team and city to city. According to Career Explorer Guide, the average salary for an NBA cheerleader is $200 per game or $16,000 per season for those with just one to two years of experience. Those with more than two years under their belt, however, could potentially earn $133,000.
However, some cheerleaders make considerably more than this. For example, the Los Angeles Lakers cheerleaders earn a minimum of $600 per game, while the Knicks City Dancers earn a reported $650 per game.
So, who are the highest paid NBA cheerleaders? While it is difficult to say definitively, as teams do not release this information publicly, we can look at some of the reported salaries and make an educated guess. Based on this information, the highest paid NBA cheerleaders are those who cheer for the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat.
It’s also important to remember that these squads also earn as a group away from the NBA. In addition to cheering and entertaining crowds during games, these ladies work hard with one another to make money outside of the court through their talent and performances.
From choreographing corporate retreat events to launching online brands, NBA cheerleaders demonstrate a high level of commitment and ingenuity as they turn their passion into a profession. In some cases, cheerleaders get approached for endorsement deals too.
So, despite what people may think, there is more to being an NBA cheerleader than meets the eye – it’s important to recognize their efforts away from the hardcourts too!
Top NBA Team Cheerleaders and their Average Salary
Three dance squads come to mind when talking about the highest paid cheerleaders in NBA – The Laker Girls, Heat Dancers, and the Knicks City Dancers.
|Laker Girls Salary||Average Pay Rate|
The LA Lakers are one of the most popular basketball teams in the world, and their dance team, the Laker Girls, is just as iconic. The Laker Girls perform during timeouts and halftime of home games, and they also make appearances at various events throughout the year.
The Laker Girls grew in prominence during the years of the Showtime Lakers as their elaborate costumes and choreography brought energy to the crowd that was only matched by the on-court excitement generated by Magic and Kareem. If you’ve ever seen them perform, you know that the Laker Girls are true professionals.
Because they’ve grown so famous, it’s no surprise that they’ve become one of the highest paid cheerleaders in the NBA. Plus, the fact that they get to dance in front of some of the biggest names in Hollywood must also be a huge benefit.
Knicks City Dancers
|Knicks City Dancers Salary||Average Pay Rate|
While the Knicks haven’t been NBA Champions yet, the Knicks’ cheerleaders are definitely doing their jobs in trying to get the team to perform better on the court. They’re called the Knicks City Dancers, and they are an NYC-based team of dancers who provide entertainment during timeouts at the world-famous Madison Square Garden.
In the past years, while the team tanked, the Knicks City Dancers have even become just as big a draw as the New York Knicks themselves. And because of the salary, becoming a Knicks City Dancer has become a coveted position for anyone with a passion for dance.
|Heat Dancers Salary||Average Pay Rate|
Miami is known for its beaches and its beautiful women. And the latter was probably the inspiration behind the formation of the Miami Heat dance team. The Heat Dancers have some of the most beautiful cheerleaders in the league, and they provide entertainment during halftime and other breaks in play at American Airlines Arena.
The Miami Heat Dancers have become a favorite amongst basketball fans, and their talent definitely earns them a spot as one of the highest paid NBA cheerleaders. Being a member of the Heat Dancer is a tremendous acknowledgment of beauty and talent.
If you want to become one of the highest paid NBA cheerleaders, you will need to be prepared to put in the hard work. Not only will you need to have extensive training in dance and acrobatics, but you will also need to be able to perform under pressure. Cheerleading is a demanding job, and only those who are dedicated and passionate will be able to succeed.
Wrapping Things Up: How Much Do NBA Cheerleaders Make on Average?
NBA cheerleaders make, on average, $200 per game or $16,000 per season depending on their experience. They also get incentives and other perks that could raise their net pay even more. The salary range also varies from team to team and city to city, with some cheerleaders making considerably more than the average.
The Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat all have very popular and well-known cheerleading squads that are known for their beauty, dance ability, and outgoing personalities. The squads often make appearances at events outside of their respective team’s games.
Working as a professional NBA cheerleader is an exciting job that only a few have the privilege to do. You will experience the atmosphere of live basketball games while getting to showcase your skills in dance and acrobatics. And when you get paid well for it, you can be sure that this job will be something to remember for a lifetime.
So, the next time you see these ladies in action, you can be sure that they are doing so much more than just cheering on their team. They are performing a job that many aim to do, and they’re getting paid well for it!
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.