Denver Nuggets Mascot “Rocky” Earns Around $1 Million A Year
— 6 October 2022

Denver Nuggets Mascot “Rocky” Earns Around $1 Million A Year

— 6 October 2022

A report from Sports Business Journal recently named the highest-paid mascots in the NBA and its findings may inspire a career change. Rocky, the beloved mountain lion mascot for the Denver Nuggets, rakes in around US$625,000 (AU$957,000) every year in exchange for having the absolute time of his life.

The Denver Nuggets first introduced Rocky back in 1990, when the franchise was at an all-time low and struggling to get people to come to home games that weren’t against the Bulls or Lakers. He’d instantly become a staple of the team with fans filling out the 17,000 seats of McNichols Sports Arena just to get a glimpse of the great man.

Since then, Rocky has earned the rare status of a “SuperMascot” thanks to his daring acrobatics and innovative skits. He’s been involved in the community programs of the Denver Nuggets, travels to different schools around the state of Colorado, made appearances for the other professional sports teams in the area, and even showed up at international functions. Suffice it to say, Rocky is the real deal.

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Rocky is beloved by fans and players alike. He gets to perform crazy stunts, interact with the crowd, make some great coin, then go home and remain completely anonymous. It’s a pretty sweet arrangement.

The average earnings for an NBA mascot currently sit at around US$60,000 (AU$92,000). The top five highest-paid are as follows:

  1. Rocky the Mountain Lion (Denver Nuggets) – US$625,000 / AU$957,000
  2. Harry the Hawk (Atlanta Hawks) – US$600,000 / AU$920,000
  3. Benny the Bull (Chicago Bulls) – US$400,000 / AU$613,000
  4. Go the Gorilla (Phoenix Suns) – US$200,000 / AU$306,000
  5. Hugo the Hornet (Charlotte Hornets) – $100,000 / AU$153,000

It’s a bit of a stitch-up for the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chuck the Condor, who missed out on the top five despite being recognised as the league’s top performer and taking home the Mascot of the Year award last season. I wouldn’t feel too bad for Chuck, though. He’s still the newest mascot in the league and shows some great promise.

Some teams – such as the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers – still insist on not having a mascot for their team. But as the Denver Nuggets have shown us, it quite literally pays to have one.

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