Tattoo percentage: 53% (8 players with tattoos, 7 without)
The Hawks go pretty classic, with a lot of R.I.P. tattoos, hometown tributes, some nostalgia, and a DMX reference. They have fewer tattooed players than last year, but some pretty respectable numbers overall.
Players with tattoos:
Rem 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.
McGrady, who has suffered a lot of criticism from announcers and analysts, has a response on his right shoulder, just below a speeding basketball and his nickname. Against a curled scroll, a poignant bit of scripture: “AND EVERY TONGUE THAT SHALL RISE UP AGAINST THEE IN JUDGEMENT SHALL BE COMDEMNED—ISAIAH 54:17.”
In October of 2011, Teague posted photos of his full sleeves on twitter, representing his hometown of Indiana with the 317 area code, an Interstate 465 sign, and a skyline.
Williams is a regular customer at Tattoos by Randy with tattoos on both arms and across his chest.
Players without tattoos:
Tattoo percentage: 67% (10 players with tattoos, 5 without)
With a good percentage of tattooed players, the Heat do a great job of covering all the bases: sketchy hand-done letters to $700/hour Mr. Cartoon work; literal, inspirational text to mystical Celtic designs; born day commemorations to new babies and heartfelt tributes to deceased grandparents. Their depth is undeniable!
Players with tattoos:
There’s a part in V. Vale’s Modern Primitives where some influential 1970s tattoo artist laments that her generation didn’t really realize how many tattoos they were actually going to get and as a consequence, everyone ended up with random assortments of unharmonized designs, instead of planning together how everything would go together. Bibby’s many tattoos demonstrates a similar lack of planning. Respect where respect is due: the 3D on “MIA” is pretty sick.
Bosh’s DVD First Ink is heavily derided as a documentary about getting a tattoo, but it’s mostly about his off-season preparations, gaining 20 pounds to make him a more physical player: “It’s time to take care of business, I’m trying to really just blow people away. Like I want to shock and awe when they see it.” On the other hand, his full back tattoo does achieve all of that, as evidenced by photos posted of the work in progress on the parlor’s website.
The Heat website reports that Chalmers has four tattoos, including the words “quickness” and “confidence” on his wrists.
Haslem, born and raised in Miami, loves Florida. Enough that he left $14 million on the table to re-sign with the Heat rather than go to Dallas or Denver. Enough that he got a map of the state tattooed on his back.
LOL at someone on answers.com claiming House’s grim reaper tattoo is a character from Where the Wild Things Are.
A 1996 Sports Illustrated profile reported that Howard has two tattoos: his grandmother’s name tattooed over his heart, and “Dr. J”, a tribute to his childhood idol Julius Erving, tattooed on his arm.
The website “nikelebron.net” has a highly detailed timeline of James’ tattoos, going back to his high school days.
Jones has a tattoo of a basketball on his left shoulder.
Technically, Magloire belongs on the “players without” list now as he had his one tattoo, text reading “Mister Magloire” on his left arm, removed in 2008. When asked about the decision, Magloire explained to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, “”I got my tattoo in high school, and I was in a different frame of mind. I’m just getting older, a little more conservative. I have a son coming up and just want to lead by example.”
Miller has a handful of tattoos, including a Celtic Tree of Life on his right shoulder, a onetime mystery unraveled by the great blog Son of Sam Bowie.
Players without 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.