Cheerleading in professional basketball leagues such as the NBA is very similar to the cheerleading you find in professional football leagues. The squads are typically made up of dance teams or cheerleading squads and the focus is the support of the team they are cheering for. The cheerleading squads of professional basketball teams, like those of professional football teams, spend a great deal of time in the public relations arena. The largest part of their time is spent promoting the basketball team itself and in being involved in the fund raising efforts by the team for various agencies.
Cheerleading is thought to have begun in the 1800’s and was primarily popular in the high school and college scenes until around 1960 when it made its debut into the professional sports arena with the Baltimore Colts claiming the right as being the first NFL team to have a cheer squad. The Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League, however are credited for making the cheerleading squads what they are today and it gained such popularity that professional basketball teams got in on it as well.
It is believed that the first NBA cheerleading squad appeared with the Indiana Pacers in the 1972-1973 season and the trend grew from there.
Just like in the NFL, the cheerleaders often go on to do other things and they aren’t “airheads” as the stereotype would have them to be. In fact, many have gone on to become quite famous in their own right. One example is Paula Abdul. She began her long career as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers and then went on to become a well-known recording artist and more recently as one of the judges on the world renowned American Idol TV show. It was recently confirmed that she will go on to star in Simon Cowell’s new show “X-Factor” scheduled to debut in the US in the summer and fall months when American Idol is not on.
She’s not the only one however that went on to even greater fame. Next we find that Bonnie Jill-Laflin was not only a cheerleader for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, but she was also on the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad for a period of time. She went further to make guest appearances on shows like Ally McBeal and Baywatch among other things before most recently settling in to her new job as a scout for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Eve Torres, a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Clippers is currently a WWE diva on the RAW brand. She herself is a former pro wrestler and she also works as a model and an actress.
It’s not so difficult to become a cheerleader for a professional basketball team or to get on one of the dance teams. The most important things that they look for are women that are physically fit and in great shape. The interested candidate should also be able to dance and learn new dances and moves as directed by the team’s choreographer. There’s a lot of hard work involved and while the pay isn’t all that great many of the cheerleaders use this to catapult their careers into other areas.