NBA teams employ an army of people to keep things running smoothly. From the top, they have general managers, coaches, and scouts; down the line, they have cooks, promotions assistants, and equipment managers, just to name a few. This article talks specifically about equipment managers. How much do NBA equipment managers make, and what is their job description?
What Does an NBA Equipment Manager Do?
While it may not match the players’ multi-million dollar contracts, equipment managers play a crucial behind-the-scenes role in ensuring the smooth functioning of teams and the players’ comfort during games. Their dedication and hard work contribute to the overall success of the team.
So, what does an equipment manager do exactly? As Detroit Pistons equipment manager John “Kong” Coumoundouros said, the goal of their job is to keep players’ focus on basketball “so that they don’t have to worry about anything else.”
An NBA equipment manager is responsible for a wide range of tasks to support the team and players. Their primary responsibilities include:
- As the name suggests, they are in charge of equipment maintenance. They ensure the balls and other gear are in tip-top shape, as they should. Equipment managers wash the jerseys, do the laundry, and repair them if needed.
- An equipment manager’s role is even more critical on the road. He coordinates with other equipment managers during his team’s away games and packs up team gear, ensuring that nothing is forgotten.
- Equipment managers set up the court with equipment, water bottles, and other necessary items during game days.
- Equipment managers assist players with specific needs, such as providing customized gear or taping ankles.
- They keep track of equipment inventory, place orders for new items, and manage the team’s equipment budget. Hence, they keep extra blank jerseys handy and sew in the numbers and names of players coming in midseason, such as new 10-day contracts and whatnot.
All in all, an NBA equipment manager is critical to ensuring the team runs smoothly and efficiently and providing crucial support to players and coaches behind the scenes.
An NBA equipment manager’s work is not a walk in the park but rewarding. If you want to work as an NBA equipment manager, you must be prepared to do hard work for long hours.
How Much Does an NBA Equipment Manager Makes?
Obviously, NBA equipment managers’ salaries vary depending on experience, team budget, and responsibilities. The more experienced you are, the higher your pay grade, as it should be.
So, how much do NBA equipment managers make? As of 2022, the highest-paid equipment manager makes over $110,000, and the lowest earns $33,000. Therefore, the average is around $60,000 annual salary.
However, based on the latest numbers, an NBA equipment manager’s salary has increased. As Career Bliss noted, the average NBA equipment manager salary is $93,000, 15% higher than the salary of equipment managers in the United States.
The ultimate determining factor is apparently experience. Newer equipment managers start with lower salaries, while the more experienced ones, say at least five years under their belts, command a lot more.
Do these numbers cut it for you, or are they too low? Whatever it is, most basketball enthusiasts will feel they hit the lottery if they get a job as an equipment manager. In this way, they are near their favorite teams and players, which is more than enough for many hoops fans. And to be paid for it? That’s already a blessing.
It’s also worth noting that an NBA equipment manager does not work alone. He has an assistant, which makes everything a bit easier. Of course, assistant general managers even make less, possibly as low as $15,000 a year, based on the team’s budget.
How to Become an NBA Equipment Manager
There is no single clear path to becoming an NBA equipment manager. Nevertheless, you need education and experience because most NBA equipment managers have business-related college degrees or four-year sports management degrees. After all, the NBA is a business, and the teams’ employees should know a thing or two about it.
To sum up, here’s what you need to do to become an NBA equipment manager.
If you are a teenager setting your eyes on a career as an NBA equipment manager, concentrate on excelling in math, science, and business studies. You may still become an equipment manager with only a high school diploma, but the odds are stacked against you.
Upon high school graduation, the recommendation is to study a four-year sports management or business course. Sports management makes a lot of sense because this will put you up close and personal with people who have done the job. Additionally, this allows you to make connections as you pursue this career path.
When studying in college, actively find jobs in the athletics department to gain valuable experience. If you can’t go to college, you may be able to apply for such positions with a university, or you may be able to hunt for such openings with a local sports league. The Athletic Equipment Managers Association (AEMA) offers professional certification, so this should be on your radar to make your resume stand out.
Skills and Experience
As previously mentioned, going to college is highly recommended because of internship programs. If you go to a school that offers an internship on NBA teams, or any professional sports teams for that matter, it will give you worthwhile firsthand experience.
When studying in college, actively find jobs in the athletics department to gain valuable experience. If you can’t go to college, you may be able to apply for such positions with a university, or you may be able to hunt for such openings with a local sports league. The Athletic Equipment Managers Association offers professional certification, so this should be on your radar to make your resume stand out.
Wherever you go or decide to gain experience, ensure that your work ethic and good attitude shine. Work on an early headstart cultivating ties and connections with people already associated with the NBA.
Becoming an NBA equipment manager takes work and could be very demanding. Professionally, you need to deeply understand basketball equipment and how it works. You also need to have exceptional organizational abilities because you’ll manage various types of gear and equipment.
On top of that, there are intrapersonal skills you need to have. For example, you need to communicate effectively because you’re dealing with different types of individuals. You must also collaborate with players, coaches, and other staff members to create a harmonious and efficient team environment.
Physically, you need to be ready to lift heavy. Even a duffel bag loaded with 15 or so pairs of NBA jerseys could mess your shoulder up if you’re not physically prepared. And you will often be required to transport and lift other basketball training equipment, too.
Developing and honing these and many other skills can pave the way for a successful career as an NBA equipment manager and help support the team’s overall performance.
Wrapping Things Up: How Much Do NBA Equipment Managers Make?
Not every basketball fan can fulfill his dream of making it to the NBA. Many have to “settle” for jobs that still make them feel close to the sport they love and make enough money to support themselves. One such job is to become an NBA equipment manager.
How much do NBA equipment managers make, and what do they do? The most experienced NBA equipment managers can make north of $100,000 annually. The less-experienced managers and their assistants make less, but as their experience level goes up, the compensation goes with it. If you want to follow this career path, you must have good work ethic and a deep knowledge of the game. If you check those boxes, perhaps you could think about it!
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.