How Much Do NBA Water Boys Make? Full Details

The NBA is a multibillion-dollar industry where the owners earn a large piece of the pie before it trickles down to the players, coaches, and other organization members. However, some odd jobs in the NBA also make more than you’d expect, like the court cleaners making $80,000 annually.

This raises the question if court cleaners are making that high, how much do NBA water boys make?

NBA water boys earn an average of $53,000 per year. However, the entry-level water boys can make around $51,000 but can peak to a six-digit salary depending on the team location, number of games, and their experience level.

Now let us look at what NBA water boys do and their benefits.

How Much do NBA Water Boys Make?

Like the court cleaners, the NBA water boys also play a crucial role in an NBA team’s success, especially during the game. They are expected to cater to the hydration needs of the players and ensure that they always have a water bottle whenever they need one.

According to sources, NBA water boys earn an average of $53,000 annually, reaching six figures with the right team, location, and experience.

The entry-level water boys typically earn $51,000 to $58,000, which is at par with the US average salary of $56,310, potentially increase over time. This $50k salary is almost at par with what many professionals make in other fields.

Some teams can even invite local school water boys to serve during the game while paying them $100 per game. This may look small, but their experience giving out water and towel can be their future in the league.

What do NBA Water Boys do?

Golden State Warriors bench
Golden State Warriors bench by eric molina

NBA water boys are some of the unsung heroes of the basketball court. They do their job quietly and steadily throughout the game. Most of the time, water boys are not even noticed during the game, but what they do is crucial in a game where players lose bodily fluids at a very high rate.

According to studies, NBA players can sweat up to more than a gallon of sweat in a 2-hour match, so proper hydration provided by water boys is crucial, but that’s not all. Here are some of the tasks performed by NBA water boys.

1. Provide hydration bottles to the players

Basketball is a physically-intense game, and players sweat continuously. But if the players are playing against the most elite players in the world, it is safe to assume that players are sweating much more and even dehydrated.

Water boys need to check if the players are continuously properly hydrated. They usually offer Gatorade since it is tied to the NBA or other sports drinks their team hands out. At the same time, some players drink other fluids like bottled alkaline water, which has increased in popularity in recent years.

However, water boys must also ensure that players are not drinking too much fluid, forcing them to go to the comfort room or feel bloated during the game.

2. Hold out towels for players

Another task of NBA water boys is to hold out towels for players whenever they need one. Typically, during timeouts, you can see water boys giving individual dry towels to players to dry themselves with.

After the towels are thrown to the ground or handed out, they must bring those soiled towels to the collection area before getting fresh towels to hand out again.

It may look like the water boys are mostly idling, but they are constantly checking for the players’ needs for more than two and a half hours during the game.

They may also collect the warm-up pants and jackets tossed to the floor after players enter the game.

3. Assist during exercises and training

Some water boys are also sometimes tasked to assist during exercises and training for the team. They can retrieve balls and other equipment, but their primary role is to provide the team hydration during practice.

Similar to the regular game, practice games can be as intense. But unlike in the actual games, where only five players at a time require hydration, during practice, all the players are running and sweating, so they will all need the help of the water boy.

Benefits of Becoming an NBA Water Boy

1. Front row view of the game

Like the court cleaners, the most significant benefit of becoming an NBA water boy is the front-court view of the game. They are always on a level with the players and can watch the game unfold.

However, since their job is to ensure that their players are constantly catered to, they can’t just watch the whole game and sit idly.

That is still a much better location than the general public. Plus, it’s free.

2. Interaction with the players

Unlike the NBA court cleaners who wipe the wet spots on the court during falls and spills, water boys can have actual interaction with players since they are sitting closer to the bench.

Reaching sports drinks and towels to the players is already a significant benefit on top of the considerable amount they earn by serving refreshments.

3. They can receive a Championship Ring

Whenever an NBA Team wins a championship, they thank every member of the organization, including the water boys, for their job well done during the season, which may even be a championship ring replica.

For instance, the Miami Heat in 2006, the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, and the Golden State Warriors in 2018 all gave championship rings to every single contributor to the organization.

Though it would certainly not be as valuable as what the players and coaches received. Still, that is a great consolation for the owners and the organization.

4. It can be a stepping stone to future NBA jobs

Though NBA water boys are only performing a specific duty in a game, that can be used as a stepping stone for them, especially if they make a good connection with the staff.

It would be a plus if they already have a college degree to back them up for future NBA job opportunities.

5. A thank you from the players and even a tip

NBA players are often grateful to everyone who helps them during the game. So a thank you from your favorite player can significantly boost your morale.

These players are also the highest-paid athletes in the world, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they occasionally hand out some tips as a sign of appreciation for the service.

How do you Become a Water Boy in the NBA?

1. Wait for the NBA for its job openings

Similar to most NBA jobs, water boy openings are commonly advertised on the NBA Careers Page, so it gives equal chances to other prospective NBA water boys. They can check for vacancies and the requirements to apply.

Aside from the NBA Careers Page, interested applicants can also check LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and other job search sites for openings. Ensure your application form is well-written, including prior job experiences, to increase your chances.

2. Directly apply to your local NBA Team

You can’t be entirely sure that teams have an opening but don’t advertise it on the NBA page. So, having a certain network of people who could connect you to your basketball team would be helpful.

It would also be advantageous if you could find out what skills are commonly required for water boys in your team since it will vary from team to team.

3. Prior water boy experience is a plus

Being a water boy in high school or college may not be as cool as it used to be, but now that you’re interested in being an NBA water boy, your previous experience is a considerable boost.

For aspiring water boys without prior experience, watching games and learning what water boys do so you will know how they move and react during the game.

While water boys are always close to the action, they can’t always watch the game. They also need to keep it calm and collected when watching the games.

4. Pass an interview or try out

An NBA water boy is like the professional athletes of the water boy world, so it is crucial that you still pass the interview or necessary tryouts for the team.

If ever you get the chance for an interview, it is important to find everything there is to know about the job and prepare.


Water boys are some hardworking but often overlooked members of an NBA organization. They help the team in a simple but valuable way of ensuring that everyone is properly hydrated.

While the job description is not as appealing to many, the benefits and pay can significantly compensate for it. It can even open other doors of opportunities in the NBA, especially if you have a college degree.

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