How Much Do NBA Mascots Make? Detailed Guide

If you are paying attention to NBA games, then you may have noticed the adorable, amusing, and talented mascots. NBA mascots have been fun members of most of the NBA teams for decades.

They usually do stunts, shoot or dunk the basketballs, perform pranks and tricks, and any other way to make the live crowd lively, happy, and entertained during the breaks or other events.

So, how much does an NBA mascot make?

The average annual salary of NBA mascots is around $60,000 per year. More popular and skilled mascots can get more than $100,000 for their live game performances. NBA mascots typically do many things in games like perform stunts, do skits, and dance.

Now let us learn more about these mascots, how much they earn, and how to be one!

How much do NBA mascots make?

According to ESPN, sports mascots, including the ones in NBA, make an entry-level salary of around $25,000 in the minor leagues. This amount will go up to an average of $60,000 if they reach the exclusive group of NBA mascots.

The more advanced and elite NBA mascots can rack up more than six-digit salaries from performing at the 41-home games of their respective teams and other sporting events like meet-and-greets.

Who are the Mascots for each NBA Team?

Mascot with fans on a pickup truck

Currently, there are only 26 mascots in the NBA. The teams currently with no mascots are the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Here is the complete list of NBA Teams with their respective mascots.

1. Atlanta HawksHarry the Hawk
2. Boston CelticsLucky the Leprechaun
3. Brooklyn NetsNone
4. Charlotte HornetsHugo the Hornet
5. Chicago BullsBenny the Bull
6. Cleveland CavaliersMoon Dog, Sir CC
7. Dallas MavericksChamp, Mavs Man
8. Denver NuggetsRocky the Mountain Lion
9. Detroit PistonsHooper
10. Golden State WarriorsNone
11. Houston RocketsClutch the Bear
12. Indiana PacersBoomer the Panther
13. Los Angeles ClippersChuck the Condor
14. Los Angeles LakersNone
15. Memphis GrizzliesGrizz
16. Miami HeatBurnie
17. Milwaukee BucksBango the Buck
18. Minnesota TimberwolvesCrunch the Wolf
19. New Orleans PelicansPierre the Pelican
20. New York KnicksNone
21. Oklahoma City ThunderRumble the Bison
22. Orlando MagicStuff the Magic Dragon
23. Philadelphia 76ersFranklin the Dog
24. Phoenix SunsGo the Gorilla
25. Portland Trail BlazersBlaze, the Trail Cat
26. Sacramento KingsSlamson the Lion
27. San Antonio SpursThe Coyote
28. Toronto RaptorsThe Raptor
29. Utah JazzJazz Bear
30. Washington WizardsG-Wiz

What do NBA mascots do in a game?

NBA mascots are well-loved basketball personalities, even more than some of the NBA players. They can dance, perform stunts, and do skits. They can also do tricks and pranks on both fans and players.

But one of their most important roles is to entertain and involve the tens of thousands of fans in the arena.

Aside from their in-game exposure, they also appear in other events outside a basketball game. They also help build their team’s brand and identity that can help increase sales through their merchandise and guest events.

Highest paid NBA mascots

Mascots in a field

NBA Mascots belong to an elite club of performers that entertain fans during live games. They also do activities outside of games, such as guest appearances and social events.

Since there are only 30 NBA teams (26 with mascots), you should not be shocked to know that they are earning pretty good. Here are some of the highest-paid NBA mascots.

1. Atlanta Hawks’ Harry the Hawk
Pay: $500 per hour ($250 per 30 minutes) of appearance

Harry the Hawk is one busy working bird because of his 200 to 300 public appearances per year on top of his 41 home game appearances.

This includes charity events, school visits, and other social programs. His $250 per 30 minutes, according to the Hawks talent request form, is also good pay for this hawk.

2. Benny the Bull (Chicago Bulls)
Estimated pay:
$200,000 per year

Benny is the NBA’s first mascot and probably one of the most popular sports mascots if you look at his more than 5.2M TikTok followers. Aside from his popularity, he may also be among the highest-paid, with an estimated $200,000 yearly salary.

He is well known for his videos, stunts, dance moves, and even pranks. The best part of being the Bull’s mascot? He was with Michael Jordan during their championship runs.

3. Charlotte Hornets’ Hugo
Up to $1,500 per appearance

Hugo the Hornet is a small-market mascot who has big dreams. So, to get him in your event or public appearance, you may need to pay from $250 to as much as $1,500, based on the Hornet’s website.

The man under the cover is also estimated to earn a six-figure salary.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder’s Rumble the Bison
Estimated pay:
Up to $100,000

Though the Oklahoma City Thunder is the youngest NBA organization today, their mascot, Rumble, is already one of the most popular, echoed by his $80,000 to $100,000 annual salary, according to

He also makes about $400 to $650 for 30-minute appearances at other events.

5. Denver Nuggets’ Rocky
Estimated pay: $625,000 per year

Rocky is the highest-paid mascot in the professional sports industry, earning an insanely high salary of $625,000, more than 10x the average salary of NBA mascots.

It may sound extremely high, but his death-defying yet entertaining stunts should only pay as much.

How hard is it to be an NBA mascot?

Now that you know the earning potential of an NBA mascot, you may also be just as curious about how to be one. It’s important to realize that the mascot is only as good as the person inside it.

So, it is understandable that just like the NBA players perform great, NBA mascots also have the physique and training that will allow them to do stunts.

Here are some of the requirements to be an NBA mascot:

They must be physically fit.

Mascots typically spend at least half an hour inside a hot and heavy costume. So it is obvious that it will require that you are physically suited to maintain composure and perform your best stunts and routines without passing out or getting out of breath. It is also expected that mascots be athletic.

They must be a people person.

One of the primary responsibilities of an NBA mascot is to spend time with fans in and around the arena without saying a single word. They should also develop skits and performances that appeal to the audience.

They should be prepared for injuries.

One of the highest risks of an NBA mascot is the risk of injuries due to their dangerous stunts. Their costumes’ sheer size and weight also increase the possibility of slipping or getting out of balance during their performance.

They will have to undergo a lot of training and practice.

It is not easy to dance and perform stunts while carrying a heavy suit, so much practice is needed. Since they perform without talking, they must also develop their non-verbal cues to “communicate” with their audience.

They also need to do a lot of dance practice with other dancers and cheerleaders for collaborative performances.

They have limited hiring opportunities for NBA mascots.

Even if you meet the abovementioned criteria, one essential and limiting consideration is the job opening. Since there are only 30 NBA teams with 26 active mascots, the market opportunity and probability of getting this gig are meager.

Which NBA Mascots were inducted into the Mascots Hall of Fame?

Similar to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for players, coaches, and teams, there is also a hall of fame dedicated to the greatest mascots of all time, located in Whiting, Indiana.

The hall of fame is also for all major American sports, not just the NBA.

There are currently 20 mascots in the hall of fame. Seven are from the NBA. They are:

Mascot NameInduction Year
1. Go the Gorilla, Phoenix Suns2005
2. Clutch the Bear, Houston Rockets2006
3. Jazz Bear, Utah Jazz2006
4. Rocky, Denver Nuggets2006
5. The Cayote, San Antonio Spurs2007
6. Benny the Bull, Chicago Bulls2019
7. Boomer the Panther, Indiana Pacers2020

Robin Lopez and his mascot wars

Robin Lopez, the twin brother of NBA Champion Brook Lopez, has been known for his ‘violent’ acts and terror toward NBA mascots since 2013, which most probably end when he retires.

Do mascots get championship rings?

While there are no specific criteria for who gets a championship ring in the NBA, a mascot, depending on his team, can also get a championship ring. This is similar to how some cheerleaders, water boys, vendors, and fans can sometimes get a championship ring.

Final Words

NBA mascots are paid well even though they’re not the ones scoring on the court. Their job is important as they entertain the home crowd as well as indirectly improve the team’s morale.

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