Why NBA Dance Teams Are Worth 35% of NBA Revenue
Updated: May 10, 2019
The NBA has been celebrated for being one of the most forward-thinking professional sports leagues in all the world, a reason why many speculate they will one day take over the NFL as the most popular sport in the United States. But recent stories have been exposed to the public that maybe, just maybe, the NBA isn’t as progressive as we all thought, especially when it comes to its dancers.
Since I was a child my favorite sport was basketball. The athleticism, the speed, and scoring were all things that intrigued me to the game. I was privileged enough to be able to attend an NBA game at a young age and I immediately became hooked. I was even #blessed enough to see multiple games throughout a season. But as I returned, game after game, I realized that it wasn’t the Michael Jordan’s and LeBron James’ of the world that was bringing me back rather, it was the Alanna Sarabia’s and the Lauren Herington’s of the dance teams that kept me hooked like a dumb kid on phonics. My Uncle Dale was the first one who exposed me to the true talent that I was missing out on. He handed over his binoculars that he used to watch the cheerleaders (he was always more into cheerleading, a sport that I personally believe lacks talent) and told me to check out those asses on the dancers. And he was right. The way their glutes powered their pirouette’s, chasse’s, and box steps… I was mesmerized by the athleticism, and by the looks of the men around me, they too could not believe the pure talent that they were seeing. So when I found out that many of these dancers were held to certain standards on things like their weight and looks I immediately became outraged and knew I had to write this article.
A quote by Madison Murray, a former dancer of the Phoenix Suns, truly shows how terrible these conditions were when she was quoted, “Right after I made the team, they told me I had to lose 10 pounds,” she says. “I was probably softer than I should have been, but it still eats at you. I never felt good enough.” Could you imagine someone saying something like that to you? I want you to close your eyes and continue reading this: Imagine signing to a team you’ve always wanted to play for. Almost immediately after you make the team they tell you to take your shirt off. You hesitantly do, leaving only your sports bra and tights. When you look over you see the trainer with an iPad about to take your “before” picture to hold you to a standard of losing weight. They then make you lose 40 pounds in ONE SEASON! That's the story of NBA star James Johnson of the Miami Heat. But I bet you it’s not far off from these dancers too! The disgusting judgment of body types are on full disclosure during tryouts with many of these women wearing near bikini-clad clothing, surrounded by judges. Now I want you to do a mental exercise by closing your eyes. Now read what is about to be written; You walk into a room with tights on. You look up and see countless men staring at you like a prized racehorse up for sale. These men can barely keep themselves from salivating all over you. They measure your height: 5 foot 8. They take your body fat: 5.8%. They then weigh you: 177.2. Open your eyes, you’re Kay Felder at the 2016 NBA combine. But I bet you that's not far off from the dancers too! If this wasn’t enough, I soon caught my self in a state of dry heaving while reading this Yahoo (stepfather of Fahoo) Lifestyle post. What brought up the nearly 3 saltine crackers I ate for dinner you might ask? The pay, or lack of it. Dancers in this article were quoted saying that they made between $50-$65 dollars per game or $15+ per hour. But some of these dancers are so brainwashed that one Pistons dancer was quoted, “I think it’s [enough] because we’re not just doing it for the money. We’re doing it for the experience, for the exposure, to possibly branch off and do different things.” Meanwhile, the Pistons are worth a mere $1.1 billion and made a revenue of $221 million last year. Think about this: the Pistons current player salaries total in an amount over $125 million. That leaves $96 million in revenue. Now if you’re trying to tell me that these dancers don’t bring in AT LEAST 35% of that leftover revenue than we both know you’re bullshitting. That leaves us with $33.6 million spread across 19 dancers for a total of $1.77 million per dancer. If you’re trying to tell me that each and every one of these dancers isn’t bringing in the same amount of money as 1st round pick BUST, Henry Ellenson, well we have a bone to fucking pick.
All in all the requirements for these dancers are ridiculous. Riddle me this: if construction workers or skilled carpenters aren’t held to certain physical and appearance standards then why are dancers? We’re talking about a job completely based on skill, yet somehow they are judged on some sort of higher standard? I don’t show up to the Fahoo office every day to get my body fat percentage tested, so why would a dancer. Before we all crown the NBA as the Prius of progressive thinkers, let us take a deeper look and really challenge them to strive to be what we all believe they are.