Atlanta Hawks, 2012-13

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

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With the additions of Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, and Lou Williams, the Hawks tattoo percentage jumped far ahead of last year.

Players with tattoos:

Devin Harris
Harris has an elaborate design tattooed on his left arm. In an interview with The Guardian, Harris explained a bit about the tattoo: “That’s kind of my conscience. It’s just there with me, all the time. I wouldn’t say I designed it but I had a hand in it, me and the tattoo artist himself.”

John Jenkins
Jenkins has a tattoo on his chest, although the design is unknown.

Ivan Johnson
Rembert Browne of Grantland did a great service
by transcribing large portions of a 2008 public radio interview with fan favorite Ivan Johnson. In a particularly emotional segment, Johnson describes his mother’s death and his ongoing connection to her:

I talk to her every day. Little stupid stuff I see in the streets. I laugh with her, talk with her, a pillow that she had in the house that she used to sleep on, I keep that with me all the time. Wherever I go, I keep her obituary with me, just so I can see her face, so I won’t forget how she looked. Before she passed, I got her face tattooed on me, so I’ll never forget how she looked. And that means so much to me.

Dahntay Jones
Jones has a number of tattoos across his arms and 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
It’s difficult to make out the design (I think it’s a “laugh now/cry later”), but Mack has a tattoo on his left arm.

Johan Petro
Petro has tattoos on both arms.

Mike Scott
Rookie Scott came into the league with 13 tattoos, as described in a ESPN profile:

Scott has 13 tattoos (and counting), including the initials of his two little brothers, Antonn and Derrick, tattooed onto his wrists; his mother’s initials are tattooed on one side of his neck and his father’s tattooed onto the other side.

Josh Smith
Among Smith’s many tattoos is a throwback Hawks logo (circa 1972-1995) on his left arm.

DeShawn Stevenson
In a 2010 video interview, after pointing out his most recent tattoos—his wife’s name above his eyebrow, her initials behind his left ear, and his jersey number on his neck—Stevenson states, “my mom, she said no more tattoos on my face, so I got to listen to her.”

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

Lou Williams
Williams has the word “MOTIVATION” tattooed across his back. He explained the design of the tattoo for Urban Ink Magazine:

I designed the tattoo myself when I was 17. The idea came to me to get motivation across my back, and I wanted to spell it out for all the people that motivated me. So, what I did was, I wrote down all the names of family members and friends and all of the people that helped me along the way, and I just made it all intertwine, and it came out perfect. It was incredible how the words went together and everything. I was really motivated by my family and my friends, and the people that supported me from day one.

Players without tattoos:

Al Horford
Zaza Pachulia
Anthony Tolliver



Utah Jazz, 2011-12

Tattoo percentage: 64% (9 players with tattoos, 5 without)

Big reversal from last year, when the Jazz had 5 players with tattoos and 9 without.

Players with tattoos:

Raja Bell
Bell has a tattoo of a roaring lion guarding over a basketball.

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.

Derrick Favors
Favors’s Jesus with possession tattoo was featured in Dime Magazine’s best new ink column in 2010.

Devin Harris
Harris has an elaborate design tattooed on his left arm. In an interview with The Guardian, Harris explained a bit about the tattoo: “That’s kind of my conscience. It’s just there with me, all the time. I wouldn’t say I designed it but I had a hand in it, me and the tattoo artist himself.”

Josh Howard
Howard has two tattoos in tribute to his grandmother—on his shoulder, he has her address, and on his chest, her portrait: “I stay humble. I always remember where I came from. Always have to do that. I have a tattoo on my chest and heart of my grandma to remind me.”

C.J. Miles
Miles recently got a tattoo of the serenity prayer on his arm. The Deseret News reports that the tattoo has become a part of Miles’ pregame ritual:

That Serenity Prayer is so important to Miles, he rubs the tattoo as part of his pregame ritual. It’s his “mental reminder.”

"I’ve got it tatted on my arm for a reason," he said. "All I can worry about is tonight, try to help my team win a game today. … If you miss shots, so be it. All you can control is the next one."

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

Jamaal Tinsley
Tinsley has a tattoo on his right forearm.

Earl Watson
When they were teammates on the Sonics, Kevin Durant described Watson’s backpiece as one of his favorites in the league: “Earl has a cool one on his back that says, ‘La Familia [ the family]’ with the cars on the back, I like that one, too.”

Players without tattoos:

Alec Burks
Jeremy Evans
Gordon Hayward
Al Jefferson
Enes Kanter



Utah Jazz, 2010-11

Tattoo percentage: 35% (5 players with tattoos, 9 without)

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the handful of tattoos that grace Salt Lake City’s players revolve around Christ or Christ-like figures with basketballs: new recruit Derrick Favors has a glowing Jesus cradling a ball, while 10+ year journeyman Raja Bell has a lion standing watch over the ball. It’s also unsurprising that the Jazz have one of the lowest tattoo percentages in the league.



Players with tattoos:

Raja Bell

For most of the decade, Bell’s right shoulder displayed a tribute to his sister’s fiance, Chris Campbell, a college linebacker who died in a car crash in 2002. The design included Campbell’s jersey number (48) and his favorite saying: “Y’all don’t see da dawg.” In recent years, this tattoo has been overcome by a larger half-sleeve design that covers it completely.

Derrick Favors

His Jesus with possession tattoo was featured in Dime Magazine’s best new ink column in 2010.

Devin Harris

Harris has a slowly-growing design on his left bicep that seems to have a few details added each year.

Paul Millsap

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

Earl Watson

When they were teammates on the Sonics, Kevin Durant described Watson’s backpiece as one of his favorites in the league: “Earl has a cool one on his back that says, ‘La Familia [ the family]’ with the cars on the back, I like that one, too.”

Players without tattoos:

Francisco Elson

Jeremy Evans

Kyrylo Fesenko

Gordon Hayward

Al Jefferson

Andrei Kirilenko: Kirilenko believes that tattoos are a mistake, and is out to prove to the youth that they can be expressive in other ways, for example, his variety of hairstyles: “I’m just trying to bring a new energy to the game because basketball becomes so routine. If we are role models for young kids, it’s better to mess with your hair than tattoos, piercing, smoking or drinking. Young kids want to prove their independence. I’m here to show them it’s better to mess with your hair than anything else.”

C.J. Miles: no tattoos yet, but he’s thinking about it…

Mehmet Okur   

Ronnie Price



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.