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NBA Athletic Trainer Salary (2023)

How much do NBA athletic trainers make?

The salary depends greatly on experience and team. On average, an NBA trainer makes between $60,000 to $100,000 per year.

Head athletic trainers can make much, much more ($200,000+).

For this article, I have found some real salary info (i.e. legit NBA job postings), not just wildly estimated numbers from Glassdoor or other job sites.

Read on for a detailed look at the salaries of NBA athletic trainers, including:

  • Example salaries of NBA athletic trainers
  • NBA head trainer salary
  • What does a NBA trainer do?
  • How to become an NBA trainer?
  • and more interesting info …

Let’s get started!

What is the Average Salary of NBA Athletic Trainers?

NBA athletic trainer helping Rondo get warm.

NBA athletic trainer salaries range from $60k to $200k+.

The exact salary depends on experience and position, as well as NBA team.

Similar to NBA coaching, there are “assistant” and “head” trainer positions. Head trainers obviously get paid much more. Let’s look at a few real examples:

E.g. #1: Assistant Athletic Trainer for Sacramento Kings

Here is a 2023 job posting for assistant athletic trainer of the Sacramento Kings (archived link):

screenshot of job post for assistant athletic trainer of Sacramento Kings
Job posting for Sacramento Kings performance coach
screenshot of compensation for nba assistant athletic trainer for sacramento kings
Compensation details of assistant athletic trainer job for Sacramento Kings

The expected annual base salary for this exempt role is $65,000 – $90,000.

The Sacramento Kings offer a salary of $65k to $90k for assistant athletic trainers. The median of this range is about $77,500. The final salary depends on the trainer’s experience and negotiation ability.

We can assume that most NBA teams offer a similar amount. Perhaps teams in larger markets/cities like New York, or L.A will offer a bit more due to higher average cost of living. Sacramento is considered a smaller market, so they may be on the lower range of the scale along with organizations like OKC, Memphis, etc.

E.g #2 – Performance Coach for Sacramento Kings

job posting for performance coach with sacramento kings
Job posting for Sacramento Kings performance coach

Here is another 2023 job posting from the Sacramento Kings for a “performance coach”. It seems like a bit more of a technical / monitoring role, while athletic trainer is much more hands-on with the players.

The expected annual base salary for this exempt role is $70,000 – $80,000.

The salary for a performance coach has a similar range to that of assistant athletic trainers. Interestingly, it has a higher base, but lower top salary. The median of $75,000 is almost exactly the same.

Now let’s see a “head” trainer salary:

E.g. #3 – NBA Head Athletic Trainer Salary

Here is a 2023 job posting from the New York Knicks for “Head Strength & Conditioning position:

job posting for head strength and conditioning position with new york knicks
Head Strength & Conditioning coach job with New York Knicks

This head trainer job has a salary range of $210,000 to $235,000. That’s about triple the median salary of the Sacramento Kings assistant trainer and performance coach!

Other NBA teams most likely have a similar salary range for head trainer positions. Keep in mind that New York salaries may be a bit higher than average due to it being a larger market.

More examples:

Here are a few other examples of real NBA jobs related to athletic training/ health, and their salaries:

What is an NBA Athletic Trainer? (Job & Responsibilities)

Nba trainer helping player stretch
NBA athletic trainers help players stretch before games

What exactly does an NBA athletic trainer do?

The main job of an NBA athletic trainer is help players stay in peak physical condition for basketball, and preventing / treating injuries.

Some typical responsibilities include:

  • Preparing players for games and practices (e.g. helping players stretch, apply tape, bandages, and braces)
  • Helping players recover or rehab from injuries;
  • Creating injury prevention strategies;
  • Improving players’ overall strength and conditioning;
  • Monitoring and assessing players’ current fitness levels;
  • Day-to-day operations of training room;
  • Finding new products or technologies that would be helpful for players’ training;
  • Working together with other team health staff (nutritionists, therapists, physicians, etc) to help players reach optimal health

Basically, an athletic trainer helps players stay healthy, as well as training them to become faster/stronger/more flexible, so they can be a better a basketball player.

How to Become an NBA Trainer?

NBA trainer helping player warm up for games

To become and NBA trainer, you must first get a university/college education in a related field (i.e. Kinesiology, Exercise Science, etc.).

You then need to become a certified athletic trainer by passing the official Board of Certification (BOC) examination.

After that, you need to start getting real experience as an athletic trainer. Some common places that have jobs for athletic trainers include colleges, secondary schools, clinics and hospitals.

If you want to work as an NBA athletic trainer, you should try to find basketball or sports related position (e.g. college basketball, G League, or other professional sports leagues).

What degree do you need to be an NBA Trainer?

NBA trainer gets to work with derrick rose
NBA trainer helping D. Rose get ready

You should at least have a Bachelor’s degree in some sort of physical health program (e.g. Kinesiology). For example, the Sacramento Kings’ assistant athletic trainer position requires:

Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training, Kinesiology, or related field, postgraduate degree preferred

According to the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA), over 70% of athletic trainers have a Master’s degree.

NBA trainers also need to be certified by an officially affiliated program like the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), BOCATC, or CSCS.

For more info on becoming an NBA trainer, check out the NBATA Careers website.

FAQ

Who is the NBA Athletic Trainer of the Year?

The 2022-2023 NBA Athletic Trainer of the Year award was given to the Sacramento Kings training staff (Joel Noland, Aisling Toolan, and Crystal Lee).

The award is officially called the “O’Toole-Craig NBA Athletic Training Staff of the Year”.

It is named after Joe O’Toole (former trainer of Atlanta Hawks) and David Craig (former trainer of Indiana Pacers). Both were an integral part of establishing the NBATA.

How many NBA trainers are there?

There are 101 NBA athletic trainers that work for NBA teams, according to the NBATA website.

(I counted 🤓)

Who was Michael Jordan’s trainer?

tim grover and michael jordan working out
Tim Grover trained MJ, and had a great moustache.

Michael Jordan’s personal trainer was Tim Grover.

Grover was also the trainer for other NBA stars like Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade. He currently runs his own company called Attack Athletics.

Who is the Lakers athletic trainer?

The current LA Lakers training staff consists of head athletic trainer Roger Sancho, and assistant trainers Mike Mancias, Jon Ishop, Octavio Marquez Montoya, Shane Besedick, and Isela Sanchez

Who is Luka Doncic’s trainer?

Luka Doncic’s personal trainer/kinesiologist is Anze Macek.

Who is LeBron James’ basketball trainer?

Lebron James personal trainer is Mike Mancias.

His official title is “Chief Human Performance Advisor”. 😂

Summary

If you love basketball, physical fitness, and the NBA, (but aren’t quite good enough to make it as a player), then becoming an NBA trainer is a great job.

You get to work with some of the best athletes in the entire world, travel with the team, and be around the great game of basketball all the time.

You also get paid pretty well. 💰

Now its your turn:

What do you think of NBA athletic trainer salaries?

Are you interested in becoming a trainer?

Let me know in the comments below:

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Larry Lee

Larry Lee

Larry is a basketball addict, and the founder of Hoop Dojo. He started Hoop Dojo to share his love of the game and help the next generation reach their full potential.