Tattoo percentage:67% (10 players with tattoos, 5 without)
Last year the Knicks tied with the Lakers for the team with the most tattooed players. There isn’t anything really to be read into the numbers, or the decline—both rookies have tattoos, and their key free agency pickup (Tyson Chandler) has some of the most distinctive designs in the league. A lot of good stories in this collection of tattoos…
Players with tattoos:
Anthony’s tattoos pretty much speak for themselves—flaming basketballs, West Baltimore, the Puerto Rican flag—so he doesn’t speak to them that often. When he does, it’s pretty funny, as in this interview with Complex:
Complex: Who’s your tattoo artist?
Carmelo: I go to a guy out of Atlanta. I don’t like to get stuck by too many people’s needles. One guy. I did most of them by myself, though.
Complex: Most of the tattoos? You serious?
Carmelo: No. [Laughs]
One of the storylines of the Mavericks’ 2011 championship was Chandler’s maturation. In the offseason, this development manifested itself in his tattoos. He’s in the process of having his first tattoo—a flaming basketball with his name under it—removed. His newest work is a portrait of his son, which is not only one of my favorite designs in recent memory, but also furthers this idea of turning away from self-involvement (tattoo of his name) to the world around him (tattoo of family).
There’s also some evidence in his tattoos that he’s more self-possessed and able to stand on his own. Last March I pointed out that he has an almost-identical tattoo to Allen Iverson. These days he’s filled the design out and added a bunch of work around it, making it his own.
Although it’s mostly hidden by his jersey, Harrellson has a tattoo of a cross in memory of his grandfather. The Lexington Herald-Ledger article that shares that info also mentions that Jorts “visits children’s hospitals and homeless shelters. He regularly goes to the Humane Society to play with the dogs. ‘I don’t think they get enough love and affection up there,’ he said.”
Smith is one of the most heavily tattooed players in the league. This profile from Dime Magazine which covers both his Yankees-flipping “Young Money” neck tattoo and his “married to the game” ring finger NBA tattoo (which includes “I Do” in script) best covers the spectrum of his work.
If I didn’t do this blog I would do a blog that charts out all of the NBA references in Brick Squad songs. “You know Flocka shoot first like John Starks” being my favorite. This French Montana song about Amar’e Stoudemire is pretty likable, even if it’s a little direct. Also, I’m skeptical of the edit but I like thinking that STAT still has a kickflip. Anyway, there’s a visit to the tattoo parlor in the video which is why I’ve included it here. If you are interested in a rundown of all of Stoudemire’s tattoos, I recommend The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac.
During his rookie year, Walker had the number “1023” tattooed on his neck. The significance, as explained to the Providence Journal, was “to remind myself to never forget where I came from.” Walker grew up at 1023 Minton Street, in Huntington, West Virginia.
Players without tattoos:
No longer on roster:
Renaldo Balkman:Balkman has “HUSTLE” and “HARDER” tattooed on his calves and on his eyelids.
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
Hornets - 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.