Tattoo percentage: 79% (11 players with tattoos, 3 without)
The Warriors’ tattoo percentage went up a bunch from last year. I am having a tough time with the Ellis/Bogut trade.
Players with tattoos:
An Oakland Post report printed during Benson’s years with Oakland University describes the tattoos on both of his arms. On one arm is his nickname, “Kito” tattooed inside a basketball hoop. On the other, Benson has the words “killa instinct” which he describes as being about basketball: “You have to have the ‘killa instinct’ to defeat your opponent, not just play to play,” Benson said. “You have to cut them off and win.”
Bogut has a tattoo on his back but he’s not really willing to discuss it. “The tattoo is a mix of things, a lot of it is kind of personal,” he explained in an NBA.com chat. “There’s some Australian stuff and also some Croatian stuff in it.”
A Sports Illustrated profile in 2009 described Curry’s minimal tattoo: “His lone tattoo, discreetly inked on the inside of his left wrist, is the motto of Davidson, the small college he guided to the Elite Eight in 2008. “T.C.C.”: Trust, Commitment, Care.”
One of the most universally derided tattoos in the league, Jefferson’s left shoulder is marked with his initials, which are circled with some cursive text reading “God Family Brothers Parents.” But like elementary school cursive, not the script that most tattoos tend towards. Also the white space in the letter R is a basketball. Looks a lot like it was drawn for/by a child.
Another heavily tattooed Seattle native, Robinson is likely one of the most tattooed in the league, which makes sense, given how early he started: “I was thirteen when I got my first tattoo, and it was the Iverson bulldog because Iverson had it. It says Mr. Robinson at the bottom.”
In November of 2011, Native Ink tattoo posted a photo of a design done for Rush that reads “Truly Blessed” in a really strong script.
Tyler infamously 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:
Charles Jenkins: Henry Abbott reported for ESPN that Jenkins was asked why he didn’t have any tattoos, to which he replied, “You ever see a bumper sticker on a Maybach?”
No longer on roster:
Chris Wright: no tattoos
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.