Mike Scott adding to his tattoos

Last week Mike Scott posted to instagram this photo of himself in the chair at a tattoo shop. As noted this past season, Scott has many tattoos of emojis. In January of this year, an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (behind paywall, sorry) Scott discussed the tattoos, and explained that he planned to tattoo all of the emojis on his body eventually:

"It’s different. No one else is doing it. That’s probably not for a good reason but it is original and something I like doing. I’m going to get all of them."

No word yet on what his new work looks like.

Tim Duncan covers up his jester tattoo

One of the more rarely seen tattoos in the league is the jester on Tim Duncan’s back. There since 2003 (when it was covered in the book In the Paint: Tattoos of the NBA and the Stories Behind Them) it appeared as recently as the 2013 Finals, peeking out of the right side of Duncan’s jersey.

Sometime in the last year, Duncan has covered up the jester with a new tattoo, a bigger design that appears quite wild but has not been fully visible yet. Side-by-side comparison below:


Anonymous said: Shut the f up


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Anonymous said: I think I noticed a tattoo on Deron Williams' left hand ring finger. Did you ever do that one?

Williams has the letters “AW” tattooed on the ring finger of his left hand, where most people wear their wedding rings. His wife’s name is Amy Williams, so the best guess is that the tattoo is her initials.

Anonymous said: New York Knicks tattoos

can be found by clicking below: 

2013-14 season

2012-13 season

2011-12 season

2010-11 season

2013-14 NBA tattoo statistics

Using team end-of-season/beginning-of-playoffs rosters as posted on April 16, 2014, there are 442 players in the NBA. 241 of these players have tattoos, 201 do not have tattoos. This means that (at least) 55% of the NBA is tattooed.

It’s possible that there are a few more tattooed players out there—I rarely have direct access to players and may have missed some players’ designs. However I can confirm that every player listed as having tattoos on this site has a tattoo, and I have provided links to evidence—either photographic, or a quote from an article or other source.

If you click on a team name on the right panel, it will take you to a page listing all of the players on their current roster and whether or not they have tattoos. If you click on an individual player’s name you can see every mention of that player on this blog.

2013-14 NBA teams listed by tattoo percentage from highest to lowest:

Denver Nuggets - 80%
Detroit Pistons - 80%
Atlanta Hawks - 73%
Philadelphia 76ers - 73%
Portland Trailblazers - 73%
Golden State Warriors - 67%
Washington Wizards - 67%
Sacramento Kings - 64%
Dallas Mavericks - 60%
Miami Heat - 60%
New York Knicks - 60%
Phoenix Suns - 60%
Boston Celtics - 53%
Brooklyn Nets - 53%
Houston Rockets - 53%
Oklahoma City Thunder - 53%
Utah Jazz - 53%
Cleveland Cavaliers - 47%
Indiana Pacers - 47%
Los Angeles Lakers - 47%
Memphis Grizzlies - 47%
Toronto Raptors - 47%
Chicago Bulls - 46%
Los Angeles Clippers - 43%
Orlando Magic - 43%
San Antonio Spurs - 43%
Minnesota Timberwolves - 40%
Milwaukee Bucks - 36%
New Orleans Pelicans - 33%
Charlotte Bobcats - 29%

Atlanta Hawks, 2013-14

Tattoo percentage: 73% (11 players with tattoos, 4 without)

The Hawks saw their tattoo percentage drop slightly from last year, which isn’t surprising considering they had the highest percentage last season.

Players with tattoos:

Pero Antic
Antic described his first tattoo to Atlanta Magazine - which included a star, a basketball, and Chinese letters. He confessed that he no longer knows which character means what: ”It was 2002. I know what I put on, but which one is which? I put eight of them on.”

DeMarre Carroll
When Carroll was 5 years old, his older brother DeLonté died from a brain tumor. While Carroll was a senior at Missouri, a St. Louis Post Dispatch article posed him as a “big brother” for his teammates, explaining he learned the importance of this role from DeLonté, who he’d since commemorated in a R.I.P./portrait tattoo on his arm.

John Jenkins
Jenkins has an angel tattooed on his chest.

Kyle Korver
In 2006, Korver told Sports Illustrated that he promised his mother he’s wait until her death before getting a tattoo. In 2009, as reported by Omaha.com, he and his brother Kaleb got tattoos of their favorite bible verses. Kaleb remarked that their mother was “good with it” and that they’re trying to convince their other two brothers to join in.

Shelvin Mack
Mack has tattoos on both arms.

Cartier Martin
In the summer of 2011, Martin had the words “Beware of the Grind” tattooed on his left arm.

Paul Millsap
Millsap has a pair of praying hands tattooed on his left arm.

Dennis Schroeder
Spiegel Magazine’s profile of Schroder includes the following list of his tattoos: 

He has had “Family over everything” emblazoned on his right arm, plus a basketball with 17 — the number on his jersey and his father’s favorite number. “Rest in peace” is tattooed on his left arm, in memory of his father. He recently had a new tattoo done. “Incha’Allah”, God willing, now stands on his ankle.

Mike Scott
Scott’s most famous tattoos are a series of emojis running up his arms. According to a January 2014 profile in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he plans to continue adding to this collection:

“I get a lot of backlash on it,” Scott said. “I get a lot of good and positive on it. It’s something I like to do. It’s different. No one else is doing it. That’s probably not for a good reason but it is original and something I like doing. I’m going to get all of them.”

Jeff Teague
As soon as the 2011-12 season ended, Teague added a full sleeve to his left arm.

Lou Williams
Williams is one of the more heavily tattooed players in the league. At the end of the 2012-13 season, he added a tattoo to his back, presumably one of the last open spots on his body.

Players without tattoos:

Gustavo Ayon
Elton Brand
Al Horford
Mike Muscala

New York Knicks, 2013-14

Tattoo percentage: 60% (9 with, 6 without)

The Knicks had a slight decrease in tattoo percentage from last year.

Players with tattoos:

Carmelo Anthony
In December of 2013, Anthony had a portrait of Muhammad Ali tattooed on his back.

Shannon Brown
In 2009, during Brown’s first season with the Lakers, Meghan Brennan asked the player about his tattoos for a Mouthpiecesports interview. Brown quickly ran down the tatooos on his right arm and hand, which include the word “Believe,” “Proverbs 3: 5-6” (although not the proverb text itself); his initials “SB,” and his mother’s name, “Sandra.”

Tyson Chandler
On Chandler’s right arm is a copy of one of Allen Iverson’s tattoos—a cross framed by the text “Only the Strong Survive.” Recently, he’s edited the tattoo by crossing out the text with a single line, which leaves the text readable, but clearly negated. In February of 2014, Chandler explained on the Mike Woodson Show the reason for this change:

When I got this tattoo I was younger, and the state of mind I was in was, you know, ‘Only the Strong Survive,’ to make it out of these elements you have to be strong and tough. When I became a little more experienced I realized that that’s not the case… I want people to see that I’ve been scarred, I’ve been scraped up, I’ve made mistakes. My thought process was one way earlier in my life and it’s a different way now. And I want people to see the growth. So instead of completely crossing it out, I want people to see those words but know I’m in a different place now.

Kenyon Martin
The Sports Illustrated Vault twitter account recently dug out an old photo of Martin in a Nets jersey revealing his usually-hidden “Bad Ass Yellow Boy” tattoo.

Lamar Odom
When it comes to tattoos, Odom keeps it simple: “My tattoos are just reminders of people who are close to me.”

Iman Shumpert
According to a NY Post profile, Shumpert has “about 15” tattoos.

J.R. Smith
The New York Times ran an exhaustive discussion of Smith’s tattoos in December of 2012, which featured his surprising confession: “I actually hated tattoos. I told myself I would never get like this.”

Amar’e Stoudemire
Stoudemire runs some of the most complicated and immediately recognizable tattoos in the league, designs that have earned him honors from Inked Magazine and saw him participate in PETA’s “Ink Not Mink" campaign.

Jeremy Tyler
Tyler dropped out of high school to play professional basketball in Israel at the age of 17. During his season with the Maccabi Haifa Heat, Howard Schneider profiled Tyler for the Washington Post, opening the article with a description of the many tattoos Tyler had collected while abroad:

Jeremy Tyler displays his life in tattoos. The “S” and “D” on the 18-year-old’s hands are his roots in San Diego, where he sacrificed a high school diploma for professional basketball. The dreamy Virgo design draping down the left shoulder of his 6-foot-11, 260-pound body, encompassing the names of relatives and a basketball, are his aspiration to support his family through his craft. There is a spot for his girlfriend’s name, the initials of a recently deceased friend, and angel wings on his back.

Players without tattoos:

Cole Aldrich
Andrea Bargnani
Raymond Felton
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Toure Murry
Pablo Prigioni

Denver Nuggets, 2013-14

Tattoo percentage: 80% (12 players with tattoos, 3 without)

The Nuggets have a longtime reputation as the most tattooed team in the league, and this year they’ve tied for first and increased their percentage from last season.

Players with tattoos:

Darrell Arthur
Nuggets blog Denver Stiffs interviewed Arthur a few months into his first season with the team, and asked if hanging out with Nate Robinson and Wilson Chandler had inspired him to add any new tattoos. His response: 

No no no, I plan on getting some, but I got to figure out what I want. My grandfather had passed a couple years ago so I might get something for him, for sure. But I don’t like to get random tattoos, I like to get meaningful stuff.

Aaron Brooks
Brooks is one of a small group of heavily tattooed NBA players raised in Seattle. Tattooed on his left shoulder is the city’s area code, 206, overlaid on an outline of the space needle.

Wilson Chandler
In another great report by Nuggets blog Denver Stiffs, Chandler was asked to choose five of his tattoos and tell a bit about each one. One of his choices is a portrait of Eazy-E alongside the N.W.A. logo on his shoulder:

I grew up with my Grandma and my uncles and aunts are like my brothers and sisters. One of my uncles used to listen to N.W.A all the time. I used to look up to him, he was like my hero and I used to always go in his room and listen to Eazy-E and N.W.A. I used to wear the shades, the hats, and the cut off gloves [like Eazy-E]. I always liked Eazy-E, he was my favorite [member of] N.W.A. Growing up in Michigan a lot of people used to listen to West Coast music. When I was a kid it was like N.W.A and Scarface.

Evan Fournier
Paris-born Fournier has the words “Régularité” and “Intensité” tattooed on his right and left wrists, respectively.

Randy Foye
One of the most heartbreaking tattoos in the league (or that I’ve heard of, period), Foye has a tattoo of his mother over his heart. Raised by his two grandmothers after his father died and his mother ran out on the family, Foye marked his 22nd birthday with this tribute to his absent parent. A 2006 interview painted yearning, not forgiveness as the inspiration for the design: “If my mom was here today, she would probably be the most important person in my life. I know how I treat my grandmother and I put my grandmother in her place on a pedestal. I just felt as if I needed something of her attached to me, so I just put her over my heart.”

Danilo Gallinari
Well hidden by his jersey, Gallinari has a massive Armani logo tattooed on his ribs, borne of a connection deeper than his Italian nationality: “Armani Jeans is one of my sponsors—this tattoo is the Armani Jeans Milano team’s logo. When I go in a store, I take all the clothes I want. Mr. Armani and I are close. He came to town for Christmas, and we went to dinner with my parents.”

J.J. Hickson
Hickson’s tattoos run up both arms and across his chest.

Ty Lawson
Just before the start of the 2013-14 season, Lawson posted a photo of himself getting a new tattoo on Instagram. 

JaVale McGee
In May of 2010, McGee posted photos on his twitter account of his new tattoo—a barcode between his shoulder blades.

Quincy Miller
On Twitter, Miller listed the names of his mother, sisters, and grandmother among his tattoos. “Those the ladies of my life,” he explains, “so they with me, always!”

Anthony Randolph
Tattoos peek out of both sides of Randolph’s uniform.

Nate Robinson
For an April 2014 episode of Robinson’s youtube show, State of Nate, he partnered with Dime Magazine to discuss tattoos. Among the designs seen in the episode is a tattoo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Robinson’s ribcage, which he explains represents his brothers.

Players without tattoos:

Kenneth Faried
Timofey Mozgov
Jan Vesely

Detroit Pistons, 2013-14

Tattoo percentage: 80% (12 players with tattoos, 3 without)

The Pistons made a huge increase in their tattoo percentage from last year.

Players with tattoos:

Chauncey Billups
On Billups’s left shoulder is a tattoo of a crowned figure spinning a basketball on his finger. Surrounding the figure are the words “King of the Hill,” a reference to the Denver neighborhood Billups grew up in. In an IGN Sports interview, Billups described it as his favorite tattoo, and explained the significance: “My neighborhood back home is called Park Hill. It’s a hood thing. All of my tats mean something.”

Will Bynum
While still in high school, Bynum had the NBA logo tattooed on his left arm.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Caldwell-Pope had some tattoos while in college, but just before the start of his rookie season, Randy Harris of Tattoos by Randy tattooed his chest.

Andre Drummond
Drummond has the names of his sister and mother tattooed on his fingers.

Josh Harrellson
In February of this year, Harrellson used instagram to share a photo of his new tattoo, a snarling bear on his chest.

Brandon Jennings
Jennings is one of the more heavily tattooed players in the league. In 2011, Jennings told the website Global Grind that he was close to finished with tattoos, as he was running out of space.

Tony Mitchell
Mitchell has a tattoo on his left shoulder that’s partially visible at the edge of his uniform.

Greg Monroe
Monroe has a tattoo that occasionally peeks out of the left side of his jersey.

Peyton Siva
During his senior year of college, Siva was profiled by the Lexington Herald-Leader. The article included a quote in which Siva lists his tattoos: 

"I’ve got my brother and sister’s name, my mom’s name, one of my favorite Bible scriptures — ‘I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me,’" Siva said.

Josh Smith
Smith was born and raised in Georgia, and played for the Atlanta Hawks for the first eight seasons of his career. Among Smith’s many tattoos is a throwback Hawks logo (circa 1972-1995) on his left arm. Strangely, during his first season on his new team, the Hawks have switched back to the old logo tattooed on Smith’s arm.

Rodney Stuckey
Stuckey’s right shoulder features an elaborate design with what appears to be a skyline, a river, and a prince holding a basketball.

Charlie Villanueva
Villanueva got his first tattoos in the summer of 2012. As he explained to the Detroit Free Press (via Piston Powered), “I waited so long because I didn’t know what I want or exactly what I wanted to do. At the same time, once I did one, I thought it was going to hurt a lot more. I actually liked the pain, which is kind of weird so I was like keep going.”

Players without tattoos:

Luigi Datome
Jonas Jerebko
Kyle Singler

NBA tattoos

2013-14 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 55%
241 players with tattoos, 201 without [details]

2013-13 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 56% [details]
2011-12 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 55% [details]
2010-11 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 53% [details]

A player-by-player, team-by-team guide to tattoos in the NBA. It is not an attempt to document every tattoo of every player–rather it is an attempt to provide a series of tools for sorting overall tattoo statistics in the NBA alongside glimpses into tattoo trends. Click on any team name below for player details of that team:

Hawks - Celtics - Nets - Bobcats - Bulls - Cavaliers
Mavericks - Nuggets - Pistons - Warriors - Rockets - Pacers
Clippers - Lakers - Grizzlies - Heat - Bucks - Timberwolves
Pelicans - Knicks - Thunder - Magic - Sixers - Suns
Trail Blazers - Kings - Spurs - Raptors - Jazz - Wizards

Click HERE for a complete list of NBA players discussed on this blog.

Disclaimer: This info is collected completely anecdotally, mostly by watching games, but also through study of photos, interviews, and player profiles. It’s very likely that tattoos have gone unobserved or remain hidden, especially on non-superstar players. Every effort has been made to present the best possible information, but statistics should not be considered definitive. Please use Ask Me to share any relevant information.