According to pay information released by the WNBA, Jackie Young, the highest earning player at $252,450, makes less than half of the $625,000 The Boardroom says NBA mascot, Rocky the Mountain Lion, makes in a year. (Photo Courtesy of Twitter/ The Boardroom)

By Seyoum Mensuphu-Bey,
Special to the AFRO

These days, the hard truth is that being an NBA mascot could earn you three times as much money as a high-profiled WNBA player.

Rocky the Mountain Lion, mascot of the Denver Nuggets, earns $625K annually, according to pay information released by The Boardroom. Some fans were outwardly disgruntled and displeased by the large disparity between mascots and premium female athletic talent, while other fans feel that the pay discrepancy is justified. A Denver Nuggets spokesperson declined to comment on Rocky the Mountain Lion and his alleged salary.

Former collegiate LSU Tiger point guard and current sports agent Mychal Williams, was interviewed by AFRO News, providing valuable insight regarding the pay variation between professional female athletes and NBA mascots.

“I can definitely see it from both sides. Women, who are at the top of their craft – some of the best athletes in the world– are being paid literally pennies in comparison to what their counterparts are being paid [in the NBA],” said Williams. “On the other hand, being a sports agent and seeing the inside of how the business works, at the end of the day these owners are in it to make money and as of now the WNBA is not as profitable as the NBA currently is.” 

AFRO News interviewed Jenice Anderson, a fan of both the NBA and the WNBA, was very passionate about the issue. 

“The pay gap is no surprise to me. We see it in every career field that a woman takes up– especially Black women,” said Anderson. “Truthfully I was disappointed to find out that an NBA mascot is making three times more than Jackie Young. In my opinion the WNBA owners are not investing enough into the league and as a result WNBA players will never be paid in accordance with their talent.” 

Young is the highest paid WNBA player, according to pay information released by the team.

The average salary for a WNBA player in 2023 is approximately $120K annually (WNBA Average Salary). Young, of the Las Vegas Aces, is the highest paid player in the WNBA, earning $252,450 annually.

Who would you rather be, the top athlete in your sport with the tagline of being the highest paid WNBA player, or a mascot who gets paid to take pictures with fans and to shoot ridiculous shots during halftime?

If you didn’t know the salaries you probably would want to be the highest paid WNBA player.

Rocky, the Mascot of the Denver Nuggets makes almost three times as much as Young. Though Rocky only works during home basketball games, his earnings surpass the hardworking women on the court and many doctors and lawyers too. 

Rocky brings excitement and joy to Denver at every home game, but some have asked: is it worth $625K?