in the NBA
How to get rich as a
Mascots are a key part of the show at an NBA game. They’ve been on the scene since 1969, when the Chicago Bulls unveiled Benny The Bull.
The six-time NBA champions' famous mascot has one of the highest salaries in the profession: around $200,000 a year.
That’s well above the average for an NBA mascot: a little under $60,000, which is more than the $45,000 earned by the average American.
However, the Denver Nuggets’ mascot, Rocky the Mountain Lion, beats all records with an annual salary of $625,000.
Put simply, Rocky does things no other mascot does: acrobatic shots, spectacular acts that risk the performer's physical well-being…
That’s why Rocky is also the most-loved mascot: a fan poll gave him an average score of 3.9 out of 5, while Benny The Bull rated at 3.86.
Mascots need to be in top shape, and are trained in the non-verbal communication that their suit forces them to be experts at.
There are risks: Kevin Vandervolk, who was the Milwaukee Bucks’ mascot, Bango, retired at 36 after two knee injuries and an ankle problem.
Mascots tend to start on a salary of $25,000 for home games, with extras for appearances and events.
That’s where their prices change: Atlanta’s Harry The Hawk charges $500 an hour. Charlotte’s The Hornet gets $1,500 per appearance.
Another classic mascot is the Suns Gorilla, played by Bob Woolf. He has more than 1,200 NBA games under his belt and runs a gymnastics academy.