The multi-million dollar contracts handed out to NBA superstars are often reported, but it’s the pay package of the mascots that’s the most surprising.
Each team employs a mascot to provide entertainment for basketball fans, with their job consisting of dancing, comedic sketches and appearing at team events.
Whilst they don’t earn as much as the players the highest-paid mascot Rocky The Mountain Lion earns a massive $625k a year working for the Denver Nuggets, as per AS.
That's more than ten times the average mascot salary ($60k).
The second highest earner Harry the Hawk is the mascot for Atlanta and earns $600k, whilst in third Benny the Bull of Chicago earns a yearly salary of $400k.
All of them earn a salary way higher than the top players in the WNBA.
The figures prove just how much money there is in the league and how important teams believe their mascots to be.
Risk vs reward
There is also sometimes risk involved with one mascot recently knocked out during a comedy skit with former UFC Lightweight and Featherweight champion Connor McGregor.
Miami Heat mascot “Burnie” had a skit planned with McGregor during the NBA finals where they were supposed to have a fake bout.
It ended with the Irishman punching and knocking him out with a left hook and he had to be taken to hospital.
McGregor is yet to comment on the incident but UFC President Dana White said the skit ‘wasn’t the brightest idea’.
“Burnie” who only gets paid the average salary, is now safe and out of the hospital.
Luckily the man underneath the costume was saved from the embarrassment of people knowing who he was.
NBA mascots might be paid well, but is it worth potentially getting knocked out by a professional fighter?