We all know that professional basketball players make an insane amount of money, but you'll be extremely surprised to learn just how little NBA dancers may be making. The topic has been kept relatively under wraps until Lauren Herington, a former Milwaukee Bucks cheerleader, filed a federal lawsuit against the NBA with the claim that she was not paid a minimum wage or overtime for her work. If true, this violates both the the US Fair Labor Standards Act and Wisconsin's wage and payment laws.
Dancer Lauren Herington says she worked an average of 30 to 40 hours every week, making about $3.50 to $4.50 an hour. According to the lawsuit, the Bucks pay their cheerleaders $65 per home game, $30 per practice, and $50 for each special appearance. Given their display of athleticism and intricate dance routines, we don't doubt that NBA dancers put in a ton of work to prepare for big games and fan appearances. They're constantly learning new choreography, forced to comply with the team's personal appearance policies, and more. While a Bucks spokesperson "strongly disagrees" with the lawsuit, Lauren's claims are beyond shocking and sadly not the first of its kind. The NFL has been faced with similar lawsuits from its former cheerleaders — many of which have resulted in financial settlements and legislative action. If Lauren's lawsuit proves to be true, we hope that this is the first step in NBA cheerleaders and dancers receiving appropriate compensation for all their hours, effort, and the entertainment they provide to fans.