Cheerleaders and dancers often get stereotyped as "girly girls" who are nice to look at, but not necessarily the type of people you have a lot in common with. Like a lot of stereotypes, there may be some fundamental truth at the root of it.
There certainly are cheerleaders straight out of Mean Girls central casting who are obsessed with shopping and worship various members of the vile Kardashian klan as their gods. But outside of those horrible girls you might remember from high school, in professional sports those types are the exception, rather than the rule.
Despite paying them minor ducats, many teams require a lot from their dancers. Often times they are required to be a full-time student, or gainfully employed, while juggling their performance responsibilities—in addition to community-service duties.
So where am I going with this? Well, my point is just that a low-paying, high-responsibility job doesn't tend to attract terrible people. Quite the opposite, in fact. Many of the professional dancers and cheerleaders I've met in recent years are shockingly awesome human beings.
They're obviously beautiful. Clearly talented. And many are some of the coolest chicks you will ever meet in your life. Not that you will meet them or anything—but you feel me.
That being said! Let's take a look at the hands-down coolest dancers in the NBA.
And, because I'm assuming I left off your favorite, feel free to hit me up on Twitter: Follow @blamberr
Nuggets dancer Taylor is a rookie member of the team and was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nev. She's far too wholesome for Sin City, so it's a relief she's found her way to Denver.
So What's So Cool: Taylor has got a bunch of cool nicknames, the coolest among them being 'T-Gang.'
You can call me 'A-Gang.'
Pacers dancer Desiree is a native of Greens Fork, Ind. And if you're wondering if that town is as small as it sounds—it really is. I was compelled to look up the population and, while I expected it was small, I was surprised to learn the population was 422 as of 2011.
I'm pretty sure the last time I took the Red Line at rush hour there were more than 422 people in the train car I was riding in.
So What's So Cool: Desiree isn't just a Pacers dancer—she's also a lifelong fan! She also cheered three seasons for the Colts and was in New Orleans when Peyton Manning won his first Super Bowl.
Hawks dancer Jessica was born and raised in Atlanta, but eschewed her home state Georgia Bulldogs in favorite of the University of Alabama. At least UGA should be used to being passed over in favor of Bama at this point.
So What's So Cool: Jessica eats her potato chips with hot wing sauce.
That sounds delicious.
New Orleans dancer Jenny is a veteran member of the team who was born and raised in New Orleans, La. She teaches dance classes at the same local studio where she once learned.
So What's So Cool: You may not know it to look at her, but Jenny is a low-maintenance chill girl who enjoys hanging with her dog and barbecuing with her friends.
And if I know anything about NOLA, the stuff they barbecue probably has creepy crawly legs, a shell, and sad little eyes.
Kings dancer Lauren was born and raised in Sacramento, CA, who enjoys boot camp fitness training—which leads me to believe she's a masochist, although she doesn't explicitly say it.
So What's So Cool: Lauren is a casual kinda girl who loves to play football, is most comfortable sweats, and puts ketchup on pretty much everything.
Ketchup enthusiasts unite!
Timberwolves dancer Lizzi hails from Mahtomedi, MN, a ridiculously small town near White Bear Lake. Although, something tells me that its proximity to that lake wouldn't be of much help in identifying Mahtomedi, population 7,775, on a map.
So What's So Cool: Lizzi is a huge Earth, Wind, and Fire fan. Also a huge fan of theirs? My great uncle. She's perhaps their only fan under the age of 50.
She's got no shame in her game, which is always cool. Well…almost always. But in this case, it definitely is.
Clippers dancer Shannon is a very rare breed—she was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her first professional dancing gig was with the WNBA's L.A. Sparks, at age 13.
So What's So Cool: She's kind of a dork. Shannon likes to kick it on the couch for Harry Potter marathons and has a festive holiday sock collection.
And she cannot live without peanut butter. She would literally die without it. Not literally.
Bucks dancer Tiffany is a fan of cooking steak on her trusty George Foreman grill. And she only burns it about 50 percent of the time. Gotta love those odds…if you love burned steak.
So What's So Cool: She's a dog person—an excellent start. Tiffany's favorite YouTube video is "The Ultimate Dog Tease," which is one of the funniest things in the world…ever.
Also she's afraid of spiders and getting a paper cut on her eyeball! Both of which are understandable and horrifying.
Celtics dancer Kayla was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. Sorry, Hawks fans! Maybe she just likes the snow and it has nothing to do with the Hawks being terrible.
So What's So Cool: Kayla may not look like it, but she's actually a pretty low-maintenance lady. She only owns eight pairs of shoes, enjoys traveling, and likes to treat herself to a cupcake every now and again.
Who doesn't enjoy the occasional cupcake? Terrorists…that's who.
Jazz dancer Danica was born and raised in Utah. She spent four years dancing for the nationally ranked Utah Valley University spirit squad before trying out for the NuSkin Jazz dancers in 2012.
So What's So Cool: Danica is the relatively rare outdoorsy beauty queen who loves animals and spending time at her family's cabin. She was named Miss Utah 2011 and competed for the Miss America 2012 title.
She might be the only thing in all of the Utah wilderness you could encounter that wouldn't scare the pants off you.
Wizards dancer Amber has traveled quite a long way to cheer on the hapless (formerly known as the) Bullets. Perhaps because she's such a serious Natties fan and a Bryce Harper enthusiast.
So What's So Cool: Besides the fact that we share the same first name, the fact that Amber is a big fan of the epic Showtime drama Dexter, leads me to believe that she's fundamentally cool.
That's one of my all-time favorite shows, and we have the same first name, so we'd probably get along very well.
Nuggets dancer Emily is a two-year veteran of the team and is originally from Thornton, Colo. And if she could meet anyone in the world, she'd want to meet the Backstreet Boys.
Because it's 1999, apparently.
So What's So Cool: Emily is one of many cheerleaders who are terrible at the deserted island scenario. Maybe this isn't exactly "cool," but people failing at this is always hilarious.
What would she bring? A Brita water filter—because that would work on salt water. A match—as in singular, not even a box of matches. And some wood, because she says she could build a boat with it.
Surely the match and the salt-clogged Brita filter will come in handy with the boat project.
Brooklynettes dancer Amanda is a classically trained dancer and a graduate of The College of New Jersey, where she received a degree in communications.
So What's So Cool: Well, it ain't the communications degree from TCNJ—no offense. And since I've never heard of that school, I just made that acronym up—sorry if it's wrong!
Honestly, nothing about what Amanda reveals in her bio tells me she's cool. I'm going off nothing but her photos and my (often unreliable) gut instinct.
Wizards dancer Alex escaped the hellhole known as Long Island, NY, for the tolerable (and expensive) midrange national capital. Overall, it's a step up.
So What's So Cool: How about the fact that Alex totally fesses up to munching on raw cookie dough?
Screw salmonella. Seriously.
Bucks dancer Azure is living in Milwaukee, but has yet to go on the brewery tour! She says it's on her "Milwaukee bucket list." This is going to sound mean, but have you ever heard a sadder phrase?
Although…I guess taking a tour of the Heinz ketchup factory is on my "Pittsburgh bucket list." A sad thing I didn't even know I had until just now.
So What's So Cool: First off—Azure likes Florence + The Machine. Not Justin Bieber is always a win. But besides that, she says if she weren't a dancer, she'd like to try her hand as a professional ping-pong player.
That is random as hell. And awesome as hell.
New Orleans dancer Christina is really proud of her involvement with the Hornets/Pelicans organization and looks forward to continuing on as a Hornets/Pelicans dancer in the future.
So What's So Cool: Christina has many hobbies, but she lists "being as lazy as possible!" as the most important.
I respect that. And I like her style.
Knicks dancer Kelly is an almost local girl, having been born and raised in the fine state of New Jersey. (Hint: Never say anything overly negative about Jersey—those people are yellers.)
So What's So Cool: She's a history major for starters. All the cool kids (like me) were history majors.
Also, Kelly works the morning shift at CBS News in Manhattan…which sounds like a cool enough job.
Heat dancer Shea is a five-year veteran of the team and a graduate of Florida International University. In addition to the oil, transmission fluid and paper towels she keeps in her car trunk, you will also find a box of Heat dancer posters.
So if you see her driving around the Miami area, ask her nicely for an autographed poster. Just be polite.
So What's So Cool: Well, Shea says her sense of humor is her best quality. So assuming she's not lying, and I think she deserves the benefit of the doubt, that's pretty cool.
Nuggets dancer Becca is a two-year veteran of the team who was born and raised in Golden, Colo. But just because she's a grown-ass woman, doesn't mean she's not afraid of the dark. Because she is.
So What's So Cool: One—her favorite athlete is Adrian Peterson. Love that she didn't feel a need to pander to the locals and pick a Bronco. Or a Nugget!
Two—her hidden talent is extremely loud and long burping. Tremendous stuff.
Rockets dancer Christie hails from Houston and actually attended George Bush High School. And no, I have absolutely no idea which President Bush that school is named after.
Probably the first…but it's Texas…maybe it's an entirely other George Bush altogether.
So What's So Cool: Well, the fact that Christie spends at least an hour a day on Facebook worries me a little. But her favorite '80s movie is Child's Play, which is intriguing.
That reminds me, I should watch Child's Play again.
Jazz dancer Karlie was born and raised in Utah and is a lifelong Jazz fan. She's been dancing since the age of four and apparently has gotten pretty good at it!
What were you doing when you were four? Probably eating glue.
So What's So Cool: Karlie isn't just a sports spectator—she likes to get in on the action too. In the summer she loves wake boarding and boating and in the winter she'd rather be snowboarding.
The XGames people really need to get busy recruiting this girl to do something. Even just smiling and waving would be fine.
Clippers dancer Kelsey traveled an awful long way to shake her stuff for the team exercising its squatter's rights at the Staples Center. She actually hails from Asheville, N.C., and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina.
Which everyone in the world should appreciate…unless they went to Duke.
So What's So Cool: The coolest thing about Kelsey is that she obviously hates L.A. When asked what her favorite thing about the city is, she replied "The many activities."
Haha. And my favorite thing about Cleveland is the many street lamps and parking meters.
Heat dancer Nic is a two-year veteran of the team and her best memory is getting to see LeBron James finally win his first championship during her rookie season.
So What's So Cool: Nic is actually into a lot of really girl stuff—like being a vegetarian and watching Titanic. But you've got to be fundamentally cool to pull off that haircut. And I think she does.
Also, she says that one time in her life she'd like to rock a shaved head. Not my thing—but I'm not cool enough to pull that off.
Hawks dancer Gabrielle was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, but headed to Atlanta in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina devastation. Being from NOLA, it's no surprise her favorite color is Mardi Gras purple.
So What's So Cool: Gabrielle is one of those goofy nerds that can solve a Rubik's cube in a couple of minutes.
Say what you will, but those stupid things are impossible for most of us.
Wizards dancer Devon is a software engineer who was born and raised in Beltsville, MD. She a graduate of Syracuse University—no word on whether or not she knows Carmelo Anthony and/or Donovan McNabb.
Although, she probably doesn't. Because she's much younger than them.
So What's So Cool: I thought it was cool that Devon said a "Wizards game" was the best date spots in DC. We all know dang well that it's not, unless you're going to break up with someone and then leave him/her with a all the other losers there.
But you gotta respect towing the company line.
Of all the girls in green, Ashley is just one of a handful of Celtics dancers that actually hail from Boston. She's a hometown hottie who has been dancing since she was in diapers.
So What's So Cool: Ashley has got two cool nicknames. Her friends call her 'AshMack' and her parents call her 'Bone,' which is awesome because it raises more questions than it answers.
People with cool nicknames are usually pretty cool—it means they are relatively well liked by those around them.
Knicks dancer Michele fled Tampa, Fla., (the strip-club capital of the U.S.) for Queens, N.Y., after graduating from Florida State University a few years ago.
So What's So Cool: Michelle has been hopping around New York sports teams—she had previously been a member of the Jets Flight Crew.
Anyone who flees that sinking ship is cool in my book.
Hawks dancer Hanna was born and bred in Atlanta and works at Georgia Tech. She's a rookie n the team this year and keeps that badass body of hers fit by kicking it at the gym for two hours a day.
So What's So Cool: Hanna's got a very high cool factor. She's got nine piercings. She's into Corvettes. She hates clowns. She's a baller in the kitchen.
And she can't swim. Neither can I. Own it, girl.
Spurs Silver dancer Katarina says if she could play any position for the Spurs, it would be point guard because she's tiny and fast. I support this.
And isn't Tony Parker getting on in years? It never hurts to have options.
So What's So Cool: Well…the fact that she spends every weekend at the mall is offset by the fact that she's super into sci-fi nerd stuff. Katarina is into LOTR, Star Trek and Star Wars—the nerd trinity.
Brooklynettes dancer Nicolette studied dance at a high school for the performing arts in New York City and is a former member of the Nets Kids dance team.
So What's So Cool: Aside from appreciating her follow through from the kids' team to the big show, Nicolette once danced with LL Cool J at Carnegie Hall!
Substantially less cool is her appearance on NBC's summer plague America's Got Talent.
Rockets dancer Yasmine is a native of Spring, Texas, which probably isn't nearly as adorable as it sounds. Her dream is to become a corporate pilot—which sounds awesome.
So What's So Cool: When asked who her favorite Kardashian is for her bio, Yasmine replied "NONE." Not only is that cool, I also respect the hell outta her.
The Kardashians may be the most serious plague humanity is facing today. Basically one step under the bird flu.
Clippers dancer Becca hails from Lincoln, Neb., and is a two-year veteran of the team. She's a graduate of the University of Arizona—which is the educational institution responsible for the maturation of superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski.
And for that, we thank them.
So What's So Cool: An interesting fact about Becca is that she can say the entire alphabet backwards, without pausing. Leaving no question that she does that every time she gets drunk. Which sounds awesome.
Heat dancer Brandee is a hometown girl who was born and raised in Miami, Fla. She says her best feature is her smile, but she's obviously got plenty of other bits and pieces working for her, too.
So What's So Cool: In her bio, Brandee lists her inhaler as the "One thing (she) can't live without." Anyone else thrilled she didn't say her cell phone?
I just really love when people take things very literally—either for comedic effect, or just because that's what they do. You know what I can't live without? Blood. Brains. Various vital organs.
Celtics dancer Christen was born and bred in Columbia, Md. Which, according to her, is the hometown of Edward Norton, an accomplished thespian.
So What's So Cool: Well for starters? How about the fact that Edward Norton starred in Fight Club—only the greatest movie of all time! Although, Christen never actually mentioned that movie.
But she probably likes it because she likes cool things like grilled-cheese sandwiches, Frank Ocean, and Sour Patch Kids.
Knicks dancer Alyssa is a Jersey girl who was born and raised in East Windsor, N.J.. She is a graduate of Joe Flacco University—also known as the University of Delaware—Hi…I'm in…Delaware.
So What's So Cool: Alyssa describes herself as a model, a bookworm and 100 percent Latina.
I'm not sure exactly how that translates to "cool," but I just like the juxtaposition with the bookworm thing.
Timberwolves dancer Mayem, not to be confused with mayhem, was born and raised in The Land of 10,000 Lakes. Which you may know by its more common name—Minnesota.
So What's So Cool: Favorite song is the Bell Biv Devoe classic "Poison." 'Nuff said.
Bell Biv Devoe…ha-ha ha-ha…now you know.
Bucks dancer Rebecca is a mystery. An enigma wrapped in a riddle. The two songs battling for supremacy on her iPod are Paradise City and One Time. Guns N' Roses. Justin Bieber.
I'm intrigued. And a little weirded out.
So What's So Cool: Rebecca's biggest fear is the sound of popping balloons. Not a nuclear winter. Not a natural disaster. Not angry junkyard dogs. Not even bugs.
The. Sound. Of. Popping. Balloons.
Kings dancer Tammier is a bubbly native of Fontana, CA, who occasionally enjoys a good wrestling session with her cat. She likes to play softball and kick it at the gym while listening to Beyonce.
So What's So Cool: If Tammier could have any superpower, she'd want the power to read minds.
A Professor X fan, perhaps? Either way, I like the way her mind works.
Hawks dancer Sara was actually born in Georgia, but grew up outside of Cincinnati, OH. Which means she's one of those long suffering Bengals fans. Poor girl.
So What's So Cool: She's an adrenaline junkie! Sara once hang-glided 7,000 feet above the Swiss Alps while visiting Switzerland.
Also? Her favorite song is Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me." That brings back some hilarious 80s memories.
Brooklynettes dancer Nefertari is an accomplished dancer who has studied at various dance academies, both in California and in New York.
So What's So Cool: Pretty much everything. Her name—Nefertari. The fact that her birthday is Christmas Day. Her Broadway credentials. My girl is the real deal.
Also cool as hell? The "Words to live by" in her bio is a quote from NFL legend Vince Lombardi.
Heat dancer Natalie is a two-year veteran of the team, but is actually a native of Houston. She is a graduate of the University of Houston and ditched the Rockets dancers for the beautiful beaches (and championships) of Miami.
So What's So Cool: Generally speaking, Nat just seems like a pretty cool chick. She's into hip-hop, digs Mexican food, and her favorite movie is Wedding Crashers.
Spurs Silver dancer Anncell is a California girl and relatively new to San Antonio, Texas. But her favorite food is Mexican, so it seems she's assimilating quite quickly.
So What's So Cool: I love a girl who isn't afraid to let her freak flag fly. Anncell's "interesting fact" about herself is that she HATES bananas—though she hasn't had one since she was four.
Hating bananas isn't that cool. But irrationally HATING something you haven't tried since before kindergarten? That's something I can get behind.
Brooklynettes dancer Jen is a classically trained dancer who is skilled in jazz, tap, ballet and hip-hop. Only one of which, I'd imagine, comes in handy at Nets games.
So What's So Cool: For reasons unknown, an eight-year-old Jen was invited to make a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Not explaining the circumstances for such a weird guest appearance makes it all the more cool.
Wizards dancer Khala hails from Houston, TX, but moved to the DC area to attend Howard University. She's inspired by her mother and loves the culture of DC.
So What's So Cool: Khala's celebrity crush is Idris Elba. Any kick ass fans of The Wire out there may recognize the name—that's the actor that played Stringer Bell.
Knicks dancer Sierra came quite a long way to don those spangly blue and orange uniforms. She was actually born and raised in Lincoln, Neb., and moved to NY about six years ago.
So What's So Cool: Sierra is a professional model and sometimes DJ, and she danced in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Hanging with Adriana Lima? Very cool.
Celtics dancer Morgan was actually born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa. The fact that she immigrated to Boston from Steelers country is probably something she keeps close to the vest during Patriots season.
So What's So Cool: How about the fact that her "special talent" is boxing? Morgan also listens to a wide range of very decent music and shares a birthday with the famous artist Pablo Picasso.
And the fact that she knows random trivia about dead artists? Wicked cool.
Hawks dancers Kirsten & Kristen are identical twins who were born and raised in Houston, TX. So apparently things aren't just bigger in Texas, they're also straight up better sometimes.
So What's So Cool: And twins! But besides that, they're both obsessed with delicious Oatmeal Creme Pies, they're both history buffs, and they're both awesome at "Call of Duty."
These girls are fantastic, twice over.
Timberwolves dancer Alisa was born and raised in Andover, MI, in a scenic neighborhood near the Rum River and bordering a state park. Minnesota is known for being a bone chilling frozen wasteland for half of the year, but that actually sounds quite lovely.
So What's So Cool: Obviously an outdoor girl, the three things Alisa would bring with her if she were stranded on a desert island are a lighter, a canteen, and her own jack-knife.
That is the most amazingly utilitarian answer to that question that I've ever heard. I have a boyfriend, but I might just reconsider all that if Alisa asked me out.
Nuggets dancer Brooke is a two-year veteran of the team who was born and raised in Pueblo, Colo. That town sounds strangely familiar for some reason. Anyone?
So What's So Cool: If Brooke could be any animal in the world, she'd be a kangaroo. And why would she want to be a kangaroo? Because she wants to dropkick you in the dome.
That's some Chuck Norris s**t.
Rockets dancer Laura was born and raised in Friendswood, Texas, which sounds friendly enough, but probably has more registered firearms than people. Not that there's anything wrong with that—please don't shoot me.
So What's So Cool: Laura's got many layers of cool. Favorite 80s move is Indiana Jones. She hates all the Kardashians. Favorite movie is Fight Club. She loves UFC.
So…not only is she crazy awesome…I kinda want her to be my new best friend.