Whether you follow the game from home or make an extra effort to support your team by going to see the game; you’ll know that cheerleaders are an essential element of the game. They hype-up the game and the fan’s experience. After all, who doesn’t like beautiful young women hyping them up?
However, while people idealize cheerleaders and their glamorous lives, not many know what their life actually entails.
So, this article will dive into all the intricacies and tell you all that you need to know about the NBA cheerleaders.
The total amount of what a cheerleader might earn is somewhere between $75 and $150 per game, according to ESPN. While it is a decent amount as the game only lasts three hours, once you know the effort that goes into those three hours, you might change your mind. Whereas the money is decent, it’s all they get as there aren’t any benefits or event health insurance.
Do cheerleaders get paid for practice sessions?
While cheerleaders make all those moves look effortless on the field that isn’t the case.
They have to enact choreographed dance routines that require endless hours of practice.
While some might practice 8 hours a week other routines require 3 hours a day.
Despite putting in such long hours and practice they get a $30 stipend for each training session regardless of how many hours they put in.
Do cheerleaders get paid for special events/parties?
If you’re a sports fan and follow your favorite players religiously you know that players aren’t limited to the game on the field.
There are many other professional events that take place and most of them have representatives from the cheerleading squads as well.
While there is a specific stipend allocated for these purposes there are some expenditures that they have to take out of their own wallet.
For example, in some cases, the travel expenses aren’t covered, while it might not seem much if it’s a one-time thing, for professionals who have to go about it every day it can add up to quite a lot of money.
How long is a working day for an NBA cheerleader?
While practice is a whole other thing, a regular workday for cheerleaders is the same as a player, they have to be in the arena 2-3 hours before the game starts and often an hour or so after the game ends.
It amounts to an 8-9 hour workday.
Once you see the effort they put in and how much they make, the allure for most of the people dies out.
While it is a glamorous job, it just requires too much effort and doesn’t pay as well as it should.
How are NFL cheerleaders different from NBA cheerleaders?
The NFL cheerleaders are mainly just a distraction for the spectators from time to time.
While cheerleading is a sport the NFL sideline those who participate in it reduce its values.
Furthermore, the NFL has started to face many harassment allegations as cheerleaders are coming forward with instances of misconduct.
In the NBA however, the cheerleaders are given due time to perform and act as proper athletes.
While the job description is the same the NFL has come under fire for notable instances of objectifying and demeaning their cheerleaders.
Knowing the salary, why do most cheerleaders choose the respective field?
Most people ask why cheerleaders join the NBA if they know the pay gap?
The answer to that is that granted that everyone wants more money that is not the only reason why people do something.
Every performer loves a crowd and the NBA has one of the biggest crowds in the world.
One requirement to become a cheerleader is to be a good dancer, so they do it for the love of dancing and the friendships that they make.
Anyone who has ever played a team sport knows that camaraderie is an essential part of it.
Most of the women who get selected have often danced for a better part of their life and what better opportunity to perform in front of such a large crowd.
How to become an NBA cheerleader?
While most of us admire cheerleaders, we don’t know what it takes to become one. To be honest I’m pretty sure most of us have a list of things in mind that is insane.
So, rather than go on thinking about it, read ahead and find out.
The first thing you need to know how to do is dance. After all, that is what cheerleading is mostly about. What most people don’t know about the requirements is that the NBA has an age limit to qualify.
You need to be 21 years of age to apply for an NBA cheerleader.
Regardless of looking as young as they do, they need to be of age. Another thing that being a cheerleader requires is for you to be in shape.
After all, they do have to practice strict routines and make sure that everything is in sync for their final performance.
With the stunts that they pull off, you need to be in shape otherwise you might end up hurting yourself or someone else.
Being personable is another requirement, as it is a job that requires to be in the best of spirits.
You aren’t a single individual putting yourself on the line; you have a whole organization to uphold.
So, your personality really does matter. Last but not least, cheerleaders need to have a flexible work schedule. Since they might have to attend different events it is required that they can move other things around.
As they don’t have benefits, this is the only way they can get some extra cash as well.
Have cheerleaders ever sued the NBA?
Keeping in mind the pay situation that the cheerleaders have, another question that comes to mind is “ whether the NBA has been sued by any cheerleaders?” well the answer to that question is yes.
A cheerleader named Lauren Herington sued the Milwaukee Bucks saying that the team failed to comply with the Labor Act of the U.S. the team ended up settling the lawsuit out of court.
Despite her rigorous efforts and long hours, she was only paid $30 for each practice session, $65 for each game that she was a part of, and only $50 for appearances. Apart from that, she had to pay travel expenses out of her own pocket.
Granted that it might not seem like much but putting it all together she was paying a considerable amount of money throughout the year to be a part of such events that paid her a fraction of her efforts. When her pay rate was checked out, it came to the public’s notice that her pay was below the minimum wage rate.
While Lauren did get a fair settlement, other cheerleaders weren’t that lucky. You would be surprised to know that rather than giving their cheerleader a raise certain teams such as the Buffalo Bills let go of the team altogether.
While there has always been a labor dispute with regard to the way cheerleaders are paid, women with love for the sport do become a part of the NBA.
However, this does not mean that they are okay with the pay gap; it just means that they are ready to invest in the sport until such matters are catered to.
What benefits do NBA cheerleaders get?
So, while health benefits aren’t part of the package, they do get paid extra if they get a chance to perform in the NBA all-star game.
Not only that, they even get their travel expenses paid in such cases. Apart from that if they qualify for the playoffs they are given a few perks such as parking and tickets.
But ask yourself do you really think that it’s enough? After numerous tiring hours would you settle for this?
Is cheerleading a fulltime job?
It is what you make of it. Most of the cheerleaders in the field are aspiring models or actresses.
They utilize the sport as a way to stay in shape and enhance their future prospects.
Other than that some are professional dancers who like the effort and the art that goes into the sport. So, it is mainly up to the person if they want to make it a full-time career or they want to keep it as a hobby.
However, one does need to be aware that the job isn’t as easy as it may seem, so whatever you choose, do so at your own peril.
NBA cheerleaders do their job with a sense of duty. Granted that most of them go into the field knowing the dynamics of their pay rate, they are in it mostly for the love of the team, the sport, dance, and the audience. So rather than thinking of them as a backdrop to the game they should be appreciated as a part of it. After all, we all do love them hyping up the game then why not respect the profession and try to do something for them however small it may seem.
While the awareness about their pay conditions is rising and people are becoming more concerned about it, there is still a long way to go. These underpaid athletes show great promise on and off the field, let’s hope that they get rewarded as they deserve to.