Denver Nuggets, 2012-13

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

The Nuggets increased their tattoo percentage slightly over last year.

Players with tattoos:

Corey Brewer
Brewer revealed the tattoo on his ribs via Instagram in the summer of 2012.

Wilson Chandler
Chandler has so many tattoos and so many great tattoos it’s difficult to know where to start. I like this quote:

Chandler (pointing to a design on his neck): It’s an ace of spades, on fire
Interviewer: okay, why’s that?
Chandler: Just, you know, it’s the highest card out of the deck

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.”

Jordan Hamilton
Hamilton has a tattoo on his right wrist.

Andre Iguodala
Iguodala discusses his tattoos in a youtube interview, in which he says he really wants to get them removed, maybe: “I might keep it, but this one I got to take off. I was young when I got these tattoos.”

Ty Lawson
Certified Customs
of Denver, Colorado posted photos on their blog of the work Lawson had done there in 2010.

JaVale McGee
During the summer of 2011, McGee participated in PEAK’s lockout diaries video series (Dorell Wright and Shane Battier also contributed videos). For one video, McGee talks through his tattoos—tributes to his mother, grandmother, place of birth, and basketball—all of which are located on his chest, stomach, and back. He explains that there are more to come, but “none on my arms or anything. I feel like that’s unprofessional, I feel like you should have tats that you can hide. That’s why I don’t have any on my arms or on my neck or anything.” The “AMEN” speech bubble coming off of his “TRULY BLESSED” tattoo is pretty special.

Andre Miller
In April of 2011, during Miller’s final season with the Blazers, the Oregonian printed a long profile which described Miller’s rarely-seen back tattoo:

Today, Miller carries a large tattoo on his back, with the outline of California and old English-style lettering that reads “E. Watts.” He is private revealing the roots of the tattoo, saying only that he lost a bet growing up.

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.

Julyan Stone
The NBA website featured a short profile of this undrafted rookie the day before the 2011-12 season began which documented Stone’s commitment to his family:

Though he will be away from his family on Christmas, they are never far from his thoughts. He has tattoos on his arms reading “Stone” and “Cooley,” (his mother’s maiden name) and he talks to his five nieces and nephews nearly every day.

Players without tattoos:

Kenneth Faried
Evan Fournier
Kosta Koufos
Timofey Mozgov



Denver Nuggets, 2011-12

Tattoo percentage: 67% (10 players with tattoos, 5 without)

Denver’s massive trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York changed them from the team with the most tattoos in the league to the seventh place team. Since last year, J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler have all left the team, further reducing their percentages. Curious to see if this changes their reputation at all….

Players with tattoos:

Chris Andersen
The Birdman’s tattoos are fairly well documented and have brought him a lot of attention, even from non-NBA fans. In advance of a 2010 profile in Dime, the magazine created a video with images of Andersen’s tattoos and some very perplexing quotes.

Wilson Chandler
Chandler has so many tattoos and so many great tattoos it’s difficult to know where to start. I like this quote:

Chandler (pointing to a design on his neck): It’s an ace of spades, on fire
Interviewer: okay, why’s that?
Chandler: Just, you know, it’s the highest card out of the deck

Rudy Fernandez
FY! Rudy Fernandez posted a nice description of Fernandez’s wrist tattoo.

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.”

Jordan Hamilton
Hamilton has a tattoo on his right wrist.

Al Harrington
On Harrington’s back is a tattoo of himself begin lifted by an angel. In the design, Harrington is shirtless, displaying the tattoos on his chest and stomach. I like thinking that when he gets new tattoos on his front he has to have them added to the one on his back.

Ty Lawson
Certified Customs of Denver, Colorado posted photos on their blog of the work Lawson had done there in 2010.

JaVale McGee
Last summer McGee participated in PEAK’s lockout diaries video series (Dorell Wright and Shane Battier also contributed videos). For one video, McGee talks through his tattoos—tributes to his mother, grandmother, place of birth, and basketball—all of which are located on his chest, stomach, and back. He explains that there are more to come, but “none on my arms or anything. I feel like that’s unprofessional, I feel like you should have tats that you can hide. That’s why I don’t have any on my arms or on my neck or anything.” The “AMEN” speech bubble coming off of his “TRULY BLESSED” tattoo is pretty special.

Andre Miller
In April of 2011, during Miller’s final season with the Blazers, the Oregonian printed a long profile which described Miller’s rarely-seen back tattoo:

Today, Miller carries a large tattoo on his back, with the outline of California and old English-style lettering that reads “E. Watts.” He is private revealing the roots of the tattoo, saying only that he lost a bet growing up.

Julyan Stone
The NBA website featured a short profile of this undrafted rookie the day before the 2011-12 season began which documented Stone’s commitment to his family:

Though he will be away from his family on Christmas, they are never far from his thoughts. He has tattoos on his arms reading “Stone” and “Cooley,” (his mother’s maiden name) and he talks to his five nieces and nephews nearly every day.

Players without tattoos:

Arron Afflalo
Corey Brewer
Kenneth Faried
Kostas Koufos
Timofey Mozgov



Portland Trail Blazers, 2010-11

Tattoo percentage: 47% (7 players with tattoos, 8 without)

I lived in Portland on and off for ten years. Despite it’s reputation as a place “where young people go to retire,” it’s not that easy a place to be young. For adolescents, there’s a serious curfew that’s been in effect for decades, allowing cops to stop young people on the street at night. Strict drug and alcohol laws, selectively enforced, helps encourage bar and nightclub commerce while giving lawmakers an excuse to shut down any party they’re not comfortable with. When I first moved there in 1996, there were signs everywhere for the city’s “anti-cruising” laws, which prohibited driving down the same street more than twice in an hour. Also there was no rap station when I moved there, not even an “urban” station that mostly played pop. The legend is that, when Rasheed Wallace was traded to the Blazers, he said there’s no way he’s moving to a city without a rap station. That year, Jammin’ 95.5 was born, playing commercial rap for the first time on Portland radio. It was shocking how mad it made people in the city.

I feel like it was this climate that birthed the late 90’s/early 2000’s so-called Jail Blazers, a team where maybe half the players had marijuana charges, Sheed rang up the bulk of his league record for technical fouls, Zach Randolph broke a teammate’s eye, and sadly fading vets like Shawn Kemp and Scottie Pippen seemed to look down on everyone. Suppression breeds violence. That Blazers squad was like the kids in Over the Edge, frustrated by the city’s suffocating anti-youth movement. 

The team’s come a long way since then, hitting rock bottom before rebuilding. These days they’ve pulled together a squad of affable dudes that mesh with the city nicely. It follows that many of these dudes wouldn’t have tattoos. Portland in 2010-11 has a below-average percentage of tattooed players, and I think the city’s breathing a sigh of relief over that knowledge.



Players with tattoos:

LaMarcus Aldridge 
While it’s notable that Aldridge has the most tattoos on the Blazers, it’s more notable that every one of his tattoos carries religious significance: praying hands, crosses, the text “KEEP GOD FIRST.” When asked about his collection, Aldridge simply replied, “Because I’m a man of strong faith. Strong beliefs.”

Marcus Camby  
Canby has the Chinese characters for “strive” and “family” tattooed on his right shoulder. In an interview, Canby claimed to be one of the originators of Chinese character tattoos. When asked how he got on the path, he explained, “I was into a lot of Chinese flicks, a lot of kung fu movies.”

Chris Johnson
Among his several tattoos is a basketball with his initials.

Wesley Matthews
To show his love for his mother, Matthews got a tattoo that reads “Dynamic Duo” for his eighteenth birthday. For an NBA.com article titled “Wesley Matthews: A Proud Mama’s Boy,” his mother recalled, “I wouldn’t let him get a tattoo until he was of legal age. He had little skinny arms then so it wasn’t a very big tattoo.”

Andre Miller  
Miller has a tattoo on his back, too obscured by his jersey to make out.

Greg Oden
Oden entered the league with a tribute to his deceased best friend over his heart, as described by a New York Times piece.

Gerald Wallace  
I love Wallace’s tiger tattoo. It’s great that one of the most energetic and excitable players in the league has a super-calm, un-roaring, un-threatening tiger on his shoulder.

Players without tattoos:

Luke Babbitt

Earl Barron

Nicolas Batum 

Rudy Fernandez  

Armon Johnson   

Patrick Mills  

Brandon Roy

Elliot Williams   



NBA tattoos


2012-13 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 56%
250 players with tattoos, 196 without [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
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.