Which NBA Mascot earns the most?

Are you looking for a career change? Something involving your favourite sport? Maybe it’s time to consider the following.

We’re only joking of course but this is a job that’s well rewarded!

While the likes of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James are getting paid the big bucks to throw balls into baskets, the fluffy entertainers wowing the crowds aren’t doing too badly either!

Before we look at the TOP FIVE biggest earners among NBA mascots, what exactly does a professional mascot do?

Make em’ laugh!

2KA5JHK October 31, 2022, Toronto, ON, Canada: The Raptor mascot wears a halloween costume during pre game NBA basketball action in Toronto on Monday, October 31, 2022. (Credit Image: © Arlyn Mcadorey/The Canadian Press via ZUMA Press)

If you answered yes to the questions above, you’re already in for the interview, but now we need to know if you’re a good fit for this role.

The key parts of making this work are your abilities to wow the crowd.

Michael Jordan may have made his mark dunking, but as a mascot you’ve got to sing, dance and know how to dribble and shoot three-pointers wearing a fluffy suit weighing up to 30 lbs.

What’s more, you’ll be doing that for six months, across 82 games a season and EVEN more if you’re team gets into the Playoffs.

That STILL excites you? How much do you expect to get paid for that?

Top FIVE Earning Mascots

So who are the Top FIVE earning NBA mascots and how much do they earn? In basic terms, the amounts paid are staggering and they fluctuate a lot.

These figures are according to a recent survey conducted by the Business Sports Journal and covered by various sports media outlets. The survey covered the highest paid mascots in the NBA.

1: Rocky the Mountain Lion

2MXHYW7 FILE — In this April 8, 2016, file photo, the Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky the mountain lion entertains fans in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Denver. Rocky is among the 10 pro and seven collegiate mascots that have been inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame will be built in Whiting, Ind.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Of the Top FIVE NBA mascots, the Denver Nuggets’ Rocky the Mountain Lion earns just over half a million USD, $625K.

An eye-watering sum isn’t it! It also represents over 10x more than the median salary that performing mascots can get for the job, $60K.

Not a bad sum for a team which has now won its first NBA Finals title.

2: Harry the Hawk

2MKREH2 Atlanta Hawks mascot Harry the Hawk in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 123-110. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Second on the list of highest earning fluffy performers is the Atlanta Hawks’ ‘Harry the Hawk’. The bright red avian from the South earns $600K.

Harry is famed for his impressive dance moves and sense of humour during Hawks games.

3: Benny the Bull

TXK145 Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull performs during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center on December 2, 2014 in Chicago. The Mavericks defeated the Bulls 132-129 in double overtime. UPI/Brian Kersey

Perhaps surprising for some is finding out that Benny the Bull, the mascot of the Chicago Bulls, is earning $400K.

Benny’s been wowing the crowds since he took to the court in 1969 and has become as much a household name as players like Michael Jordan or Dennis Rodman.

4: Go the Gorilla

2N127DR Phoenix Suns mascot, The Gorilla, waves a flag during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacremento Kings, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

There is only one gear with Phoenix Suns’ mascot and that’s GO. The jersey wearing ape earns only $200K, a considerable difference from those above.

Surprisingly, Go was not their first mascot. In fact, their first was a Sunflower but this was not their official mascot. Go didn’t actually make it on the scene officially until at least the 12th season of operation.

The legend goes that a messenger delivering a singing telegram came dressed as a gorilla. He was asked to dance under the hoops and the crowds instantly fell in love.

5: Hugo the Hornet

2MHDAJM Charlotte Hornets’ mascot Hugo the Hornet beats his drum against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. The Nets won 111-104. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Making a buzz at the bottom of our Top FIVE list is the Charlotte Hornets’ Hugo the Hornet.

The blue insect’s performer is picking up a $100K pay-check per year for their services to the audience.

Hugo was actually designed by the daughter of puppeteer Jim Henson, Cheryl Henson and was inaugurated in their first season.

The name would carry special meaning after the damaging Hurricane Hugo which hit the South-eastern United States in 1989.


2MYGD9M Seattle Storm?s Jewell Loyd during a WNBA basketball game against the Connecticut Sun, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

While these are some serious sums of money to pay team mascots in the NBA, what’s more significant is that the top three earners among them are banking more than the top players in the Women’s NBA.

Jewell Loyd – Loyd is a Guard with Seattle Storm and is currently on a two-year contract with an Average Annual Salary of $234,936, going into the 2023/24 season.

Diana Taurasi – Tausari has signed a two-year contract with Phoenix Mercury which comes with a base AAV of $234,936, starting from next season.

Breanna Stewart – Stewie is a Forward for New York Liberty and currently has a one-year contract with an AAV of $175,000, going into the new season.

Put into perspective, Rocky the Mountain Lion is earning almost THREE times more than Loyd.

Posted on: 13 Jun 2023