Tattoo percentage: 60% (9 players with tattoos, 6 without)
The Knicks tattoo percentage decreased a bit over last year.
Players with tattoos:
Anthony caused a bit of controversy during the 2012 American League Division Series by rooting for the Orioles instead of the Yankees. When challenged by the New York Post about this allegiance, Anthony pointed to a tattoo of the Orioles logo on his arm and explained that he’d been a fan of the team since he was a child.
A long profile of Camby appeared on ESPN Boston earlier this year in honor of UMass retiring his jersey. The article mentions that Camby got his first tattoo—“a ball, a hoop, and ‘Mr. Camby’ on his left triceps”—following his sophomore season at UMass.
Chandler appeared naked on the cover of the 2012 “Body” issue of ESPN the Magazine. The photo revealed that Chandler has a section of the bible verse Joshua 1:9 tattooed on the right side of his ribcage: “Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Kidd’s rarely seen panther tattoo speaks to his longtime love of big cats: “I got this tattoo so long ago. All the way back to about the time I was drafted by the Mavericks. I got it done at a shop in the Bay Area (San Francisco). I just like tigers, panthers, cats in general. I have always wanted to own a panther.”
The Sports Illustrated Vault twitter account recently dug out an old photo of Martin in a Nets jersey revealing his usually-hidden “Bad Ass Yellow Boy” tattoo.
A 2010 report by the Orlando Sentinel talks through Richardson’s many designs, and includes his father’s take on his tattoos: “Why you want to write all over yourself? If you want to write, go write a book.”
In January of 2013, Shumpert revealed that he has a tattoo of cartoon character Johnny Bravo on his left arm, as detailed by Ball Don’t Lie.
The New York Times ran an exhaustive discussion of Smith’s tattoos in December of 2012, which featured his surprising confession: “I actually hated tattoos. I told myself I would never get like this.”
In February of 2012, Stoudemire’s older brother Hazell passed away. When Stoudemire came back from the funeral, he had a teardrop tattoo beneath his right eye. A clip from the forthcoming Stoudemire documentary “In the Moment” shows the player discussing his brother and the tattoo: “The reason I got the teardrop tattoo is because I’m forever crying inside.”
Players without tattoos:
No longer on roster:
Kurt Thomas: no
Rasheed Wallace: yes
The in-depth profile of J.R. Smith by Jonathan Abrams that appeared on Grantland recently included a couple of quotes from Smith’s parents about his tattoos:
“The first thing they see is all the tattoos,” Smith Jr. said of his son. “Well, he didn’t have all of them before. They say, ‘Aw, you shouldn’t have let them happen.’ You’ll understand as a parent, you’ve got to give something to get something. A lot of parents don’t and then when they don’t, guess what? You and your son is bumping heads or you and your daughter is bumping heads and they are cussing you out and you don’t have that bond. But we’ve got that bond. I’ve never had them cussing out or disagreeing.” Smith’s mom, Ida, said she doesn’t have a big problem with the body art. “I definitely don’t want him to have as many as he has. But I don’t know, for a guy, it doesn’t look bad and he doesn’t have any devil-worshipping signs or anything.”
svern asked: Thanks for referencing our Derrick Rose tattoo post! Our most recent one highlighting JR Smith of the Knicks many tats if you're interested can be found on our site! Would link it to you here but will not allow me to do so.
Here is the link to the J.R. Smith tattoo post! Another great piece by The Windy Apple.
This season in particular there have been a lot of roster changes and players coming and going, and I realized this morning that the 2011-12 team rundowns I’ve posted are already somewhat out of date. Someone like Keith Bogans has already been signed and waived in the 6 weeks since I posted New Jersey’s stats. Or how Lin was playing on the Bayhawks when I put up the Knicks’ rundown. Anyway, moving forward, I will try and update these pages are added, traded, and dropped. Players that have left the NBA for overseas, the D-League, or casual lifestyles will remain on the page of the team they last played for, however only currently rostered players will count towards the overall percentages. The goal is to have all the 2011-12 team pages up by all star break, so that I can stress out and re-arrange everything two weeks later after the trade deadline.
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.
Evan Turner’s Twitter confession last night had me revisiting Urban Ink Magazine. There’s a whole section of their website that you have to sign up to access, a lot of photos of Waka Flocka Flame and Chad Ochocinco. Not surprisingly, they’ve spent some time with the Denver Nuggets. Here are some highlights:
Al Harrington’s backpiece, featuring a tattoo of himself being carried by an angel. I like imagining that when he gets a new tattoo on his arms or chest he has to have a smaller version added to this one.
J.R. Smith’s right bicep
Kenyon Martin’s disturbing rosary
About one-sixth of NBA players have a tattoo of a basketball. It makes sense, lots of people commemorate their passions via tattoos: cyclists, chefs, shredders, LL Cool J. Still, what’s amazing is that every team has at least one player with a basketball tattoo, even the Hornets, who only have two tattooed players. Basketball tattoos range from iconic (Jordan jumpman; NBA logo), to narcissistic (Carlos Boozer’s self portrait), to symbolic (basketball wearing a crown, basketball meshed with a cross), to weird (Rip Hamilton’s gravestone). Going division by division, Every Team’s Got One will sort out the the highlights across the league, continuing here with the Northwest division. Click HERE to view other divisions.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers
J.R. Smith and Glen Davis each have a “Mama’s Boy” tattoo on their right pectoral. They’re surprisingly similar, but whose is better?
Script: Smith went for the spiraling, delicate lettering that replaced Old English (or Black Letter) during the last decade in popularity. The second “m” in “Mama” is a little unbalanced but the detail is nice overall. Davis selected a heavier script that’s almost blockish. While there’s a sentimental weight to Davis’ choice, since it’s closer to the kind of script a kid might use on a mother’s day card, the elegance and motion of Smith’s lettering feels a more respectful tribute. Winner: Smith
Portrait: Well, they’re both pretty mom-like, smiling and soft-eyed. While Smith’s portrait mom has a nice shine to her hair, Davis’ portrait mom has hers up in a bun, away from her face like she’s trying to get some work done. Also the portrait shows her neck and shoulders, which kind of makes her look more like a comic book drawing than a photo. It seems like Davis chose a daytime, real-life image of his mom while Smith went more evening-wear, with earrings. You have to respect both sides. Winner: draw
Background: Surround Smith’s portrait are some heavenly clouds, the same that stretch across his entire chest. A couple of doves flank the design. Davis’s design also has clouds, but they’re parted at the top by sun rays, this very classic heavens-open-up-to-reveal-beauty moment. Winner: Davis
Context: I’m a little confused why neither of them got the tattoo on the left side of their chest, i.e. over their heart. Probably both of them already had tattoos over their hearts, which surprisingly, are also similar–Smith has a portrait of Christ, and Davis has an image of Christ’s hands being pierced by spikes. With the aforementioned clouds, Smith tied his “Mama’s Boy” tattoo into the rest of his upper body tattoos, which has a holistic strength that resonates with his “I got a hell of a story going on” sense of his tattoos. But there’s something potent about Davis keeping the tattoo isolated, focused. He only has one story to tell, of love and devotion. Winner: Davis
By a score of 3 to 2, the 2011 NBA Tattoos “Who wore it better?” Mother’s Day challenge is awarded to Big Baby Davis. Would you want it any other way?
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.