NBA Mascot Salary

NBA Mascot Salary

How much do NBA mascots make?

NBA mascots have various roles and responsibilities ranging from belly sliding across basketball courts, initiating the human wave, giving goodies to the crowds, to doing pushups when the team scores, all in a bid to entertain the crowds and keep them in good spirits. These mascots earn from the NBA and make a public appearance in a different, basketball unrelated event. Whether or not these mascots make a lot of money and or how much they take home at the end of the day really comes down to how good they are at delivering on their respective roles and responsibilities. Therefore, it is the experience of the mascot together with the achievement of their respective responsibilities that proves their effectiveness and determines their salary. We will discuss NBA Mascot Salary in this article.

NBA Mascot Salary

According to NBA Lead, mascots make anywhere between $22,000 to $100,000 or more annually. However, experience is the main determinant of how much an NBA mascot takes home as salary. For example, NBA mascot Rocky Mountain Lion was reported to have made $650,000 just by performing his duties as an NBA mascot. Therefore, while the lowest-paid NBA mascot earns an average of $22,000 annually, once they have mastered the art and gained enough experience in delivering on their responsibilities, they can earn way above the average salary for an NBA mascot.  

Top Paid NBA Mascots 

  1. Rocky Mountain Lion Mascot

As mentioned earlier, Rocky Mountain Lion, Denver Nuggets’ mascot, was reported to have made home with a whopping $650,000 in a year from just performing his duties as a mascot. This, as we may all realize, is way above the average salary of an NBA mascot, which stands at around $22,000. According to NBA Lead, Rocky Mountain Lion is considered the highest-paid mascot not just in the NBA but also, get this, in the history of professional sport.  Denver Nuggets’ Rocky is known for his audacious acrobatics, innovative, passionate, and exciting nature by his audience. Forget the salary. In 2006, Rocky Mountain Lion or SuperMascot Rocky was inducted into the Mascot Hall of fame, as some may refer him to. This is by far the biggest of them all achievements. His entertaining and exciting nature has proved to be accepted by crowds of all walks and, by all means, given his earnings a major boost. 

  1. Charlotte Hornets’ Hugo Mascot

Hugo the Hornet, a four-time winner of the NBA Mascot slam dunk championship, is Charlotte Hornets mascot and one of the top-earning NBA mascots. According to, Hugo makes over $100,000 annually. On top of that, Hugo takes home $250 to $1,500 for public appearances outside NBA. Having this much experience as an NBA mascot really makes one worth a lot for the salaries they earn.

  1. Harry the Hawk Mascot

Known for his unrivaled dancing styles and unmatched energy when performing before crowds, Harry the Hawk, the Atlanta Hawks mascot is also one of the top paid NBA mascots. According to, Harry the Hawk takes home a six-figure salary annually. Going by Harry’s talent request form, a 30-minute public appearance earns him $250. And this he makes by just making a public appearance. Due to Harry the Hawk’s experience and entertaining nature, crowds look forward to meeting him during NBA games. However, it is his prowess that makes him a top earner as an NBA mascot. 

  1. Rumble the Bison Mascot

Oklahoma City mascot Rumble the Bison is also top of the list in mascots with top salaries. According to Oklahoma City’s website, Rumble the Bison takes home $400 for a 30-45 minutes appearance. This price, however, goes up by $250 when he makes a one-hour appearance. SportsMascot, on the other hand, estimates Rumble the Bison salary to be between $80,000 and $100,000 a year. This translates to close to four times the average salary of an NBA mascot. 

  1. Moondog Mascot

Cleveland Cavaliers mascot Moondog came about from a radio disc-jockey, Alan Freed, who used to call himself “Moondog.” He would then refer to his audience and listeners as “Moondogger.” Known for his fun-loving, passionate, innovative, and controversial nature, Moondog came about in dedication and honor of the original Alan Freed. Additionally, the Moondog mascot is known for Moondog 100k Challenge, a collection of charity walks and runs that the Cavaliers’ mascot engages in to achieve various purposes. 

Moondog’s salary is believed to be beyond $100,000 annually. While it has not been made public, the Cavaliers website states that the services of their Mascot to be secured, an amount of $300 is to be paid per hour.


While being a mascot may seem exciting and easy, it is actually the opposite. While it goes down most of the time to a person’s entertaining nature and personality for them to become a mascot, one has to, in fact, train hard for them to perfect in this art and really be effective in entertaining crowds.  These mascots, being athletes get injuries from time to time during training and when performing different stunts before crowds. However, it goes without saying how important mascots are when it comes to NBA games. Aside from entertaining the crowds, mascots also control emotions and the tension that come with different games. Therefore, without question, NBA mascots deserve the salaries they take home at the end of the day for performing their unmatched roles and responsibilities.

Responsibilities of an NBA Mascot

The general responsibility of the NBA mascot is to keep the crowd entertained and in good spirits. While they may not contribute to the outcome of the game, mascots ensure that the crowds not only have a fun time but also don’t get bored during the game, from belly rolling to jumping in the trampoline, from doing pushups to playing chase with fellow mascots, from doing backflips to initiating the human wave. All these mascots have perfected their art in ensuring they come in handy in keeping the crowd entertained and in very good spirits before and during the game.

According to NBAMASCOTS.COM, there are presently 28 active NBA mascots. It is important to note that, as mentioned above, not all NBA teams have mascots. It is reported that since mascots started being part of professional sports, the NBA has seen 21 mascots who have had their career and even retired. This shows how important a career being a mascot is. These people have lived their lives as mascots and were able to sustain themselves and their families from the proceeds of being a mascot. This is enough to encourage anyone who would like to join this career path and has some or doubts when it comes to sustaining their lives and eventually achieving their dreams when actually doing something they love. 

Aside from keeping the crowd entertained and in good spirits, NBA mascots bring value to the NBA teams they associate with through the immense following brewed from their connection with crowds. Remember, they create this connection without even talking to these crowds. Therefore, they are essential to the NBA teams as they pull crowds and supporters to games. Furthermore, massive crowds watching or supporting the NBA games translates to more revenue collection, which, as we may all agree, is important for the smooth running of the NBA games. They are therefore very valuable to NBA teams.

The Pros and Cons of Being an NBA Mascot 


  1. Anonymity

Being a mascot comes with being anonymous. Having put on a costume, no one really knows or cares who is inside them. Hence, one can have fun and entertain crowds without fear of any embarrassment or being personally judged.

  1. Publicity

NBA mascots are really famous, and if fame is something you’d want to have, you will get that very easily when being an NBA mascot. This is because of the engagement a mascot has with different massive crowds and even celebrities. Also, due to their fun nature, many people like to be associated with them hence the fame.

  1. Fun 

Being an NBA mascot is all about fun and entertainment. You get to pull stunts, initiate the human wave, make funny gestures and even make fun of the opponents. All these, let’s not forget, however, fun it is, are not at all free. At the end of the day, NBA mascots are paid for having fun. Isn’t that awesome?

  1. Hanging Out with Celebrities

We have all seen how celebrities grace the NBA games now and then. Guess who is allowed to hang out with them? Yes, you got it right, NBA mascots! They also get to hang out with the NBA players with who everyone wants to be associated.

Even so, just like every other thing under the sun, being an NBA mascot is not always a bed of roses. It also has its ups and downs. 


  1. High Expectations from crowds

Being an NBA mascot comes with very high expectations. People expect you to be very effective, if not perfect, in what you do and without fail. In addition, the expectation is that you will be funny or entertaining with everything that you do, even when it is actually impossible to do so. Therefore, one should be ready to receive boos once in a while when the crowds don’t feel entertained by what you do. This, however, should not be a reason for you to give up as it is normal.

  1. When No One Shows Up

Sometimes when you are eager to give your best performance, no one shows up. Isn’t it disappointing? Well, that will only mean that you will have to wait until next time for you to put up a show. So push on and be excited regardless, for there is always a next time and bigger crowd.

  1. Poorly Designed Mascot Costumes

Sometimes those costumes are very poorly designed, and it gets uncomfortable in them. For example, it can be very hot inside or hard to perform particular stunts in such costumes. Remember, one may be required to be inside them for very long hours. This may have a negative impact on your performance and effectiveness.

  1. Dangerous Stunts

Being an NBA mascot requires you to perform particular unexpected stunts before the crowd for entertainment. This, as we may from time to time see, is not always successful as the mascots may end up hurting themselves in the process. Having an injury only means you will have to put your career at pause and focus on recovering. This is very costly and heartbreaking not just to the NBA mascot but also to the crowds and the team in general. Therefore, one has to be very careful while performing these stunts, especially while in those costumes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do NBA Mascots Make a lot of Money?

The answer is Yes. Of course, how much money is ‘a a lot’ is a matter of perspective. However, as discussed above, we realize that the lowest-paid mascot in the NBA takes home an average of $22,000 annually while the highest makes well over $100,000 depending on their experience. This is by far a lot of money compared to other employees in different sectors in the USA.

  1. Does Being a Mascot Require Training?

The answer is Yes. While being a mascot does not require any formal training, and an NBA mascot has to be an athlete, run, jump and sometimes even dunk. Therefore, one has to train well enough to be effective in the aforementioned activities and many others.

  1. Is there an NBA Team without a Mascot?

The answer is Yes. Four actually, Brooklyn Nets, the New York Knicks, the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers.

  1. Do Mascots Travel with the Team for Away Games?

The answer is No. NBA mascots only appear for home games as they are usually on the no-fly list. 

Also read How to Become NBA General Manager in 2021?

NBA Mascot Salary

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