You don’t have to be a basketball player to work with an NBA team. The NBA offers plenty of career opportunities to ambitious job-seekers passionate about basketball.
NBA equipment manager is one option to consider. Of course, you need to know how to become an NBA equipment manager even to begin pursuing this career.
This overview will help. Keep reading to learn more about what you can do to achieve your goal of becoming an equipment manager at the NBA.
Top Tips to Landing An Equipment Manager Job in the National Basketball Association
What Does An NBA Equipment Manager Do?
Before learning how to become an NBA equipment manager, you may want to know more about what types of responsibilities the role involves!
An equipment manager’s duties are wide-ranging and may vary somewhat from one franchise or team to another. In general, an NBA equipment manager is responsible for ensuring a team has all the equipment they need to play and practice. The role may involve:
- budgeting for equipment,
- negotiating contracts with suppliers,
- placing orders,
- ensuring all team equipment is appropriately maintained, and, in some cases,
- arriving at a game venue early to confirm the necessary equipment is available to the players beforehand
This role is ideal for someone who is detail-oriented and highly organized. Equipment managers must rigorously keep track of the various items a team works with.
How Much Do Equipment Managers Make In The NBA?
Naturally, you might also have some questions regarding the salary of an NBA equipment manager.
NBA equipment manager salaries can range widely. At the high-end, some earn six figures. The lowest equipment manager salaries are closer to $33,000. On average, NBA equipment managers earn about $60,000 a year.
Salaries can range so widely for NBA equipment managers because there are essentially various “ranks” of equipment managers. Typically, the equipment manager isn’t just one person. Head equipment managers, who earn the most, usually work with assistant equipment managers who may make substantially less when first starting out.
It’s essential to be aware that you will likely start out at a low rank when first working as an NBA equipment manager. However, it’s not uncommon for ambitious equipment managers to eventually take on more well-paying roles within a franchise. This is a role with a reasonably strong potential for advancement.
Your Path to A Successful Career
There’s no single path to becoming an NBA equipment manager. However, the Athletic Equipment Managers Association does make certain recommendations to those who wish to land NBA equipment manager jobs in the future. The following steps are partially based on their suggestions:
Education & Experience
If you’re still a high school student with dreams of becoming an NBA equipment manager, you should focus on performing exceptionally well in math, science, and any business classes.
After graduating, the AEMA recommends a few options to consider. You can earn a four-year degree in sports management or business-related subjects. A two-year degree may also be acceptable if you work hard to make connections. It’s even theoretically possible to get an NBA equipment manager job with only a high school diploma, although this will naturally be more difficult.
Regardless of which path you take, you should strive to get experience in any way you can. If you’re a student, seek jobs with your university’s athletics department. You should, of course, try to find jobs that involve duties similar to those of an equipment manager if possible. If you’re not a student, you may still be able to apply for such jobs with a university, or you could look for such jobs with a local sports league.
The AEMA does offer professional certification. You may consider pursuing this to ensure your resume stands out. Earning this certification will indicate to future potential employers that you’re genuinely interested in this type of work.
- Sports Event Sales
Marketing/Events/Promotions - West Region
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Sports Media - Southeast Region
- Graduate Assistant - Broadcasting/Sports Communication
Sports Technology - Central Region
Finding a Job
Along with gaining experience, you also want to prioritize networking. Work hard to impress everyone you work for or with, whether it’s working directly with an equipment manager or folding a team’s laundry. If you’re earning a degree, particularly in sports management, strive to make the best possible impression on all your instructors.
You’ll likely have to be patient to become an NBA equipment manager. Again, you’ll probably start out working for a university or local league at first. After earning a few promotions at that level, if you’re ambitious and dedicated, you’ll eventually reach a point where you may have the connections and experience necessary to justify applying for jobs with NBA teams.
Once you’re working for an NBA franchise, likely, you’ll still start at a relatively low rung of the ladder, but if you have decent background experience, your initial role should at least compensate you well enough for you to keep working towards your eventual goal.
You need to continue to work hard and gain knowledge. Ask equipment managers to be mentors. Attend professional networking events and educational seminars. Take additional courses to supplement your education. By focusing on your goal and following the advice here, you can become a high-earning NBA equipment manager one day.