Phoenix Suns, 2012-13

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

In the biggest single-year jump in the past three years, the Suns nearly doubled their tattoo percentage from last year.

Players with tattoos:

Michael Beasley
Among Beasley’s many tattoos is the word “H.O.O.D.” on his chest, an acronym for “Holding Our Own Destinies.”

Shannon Brown
In 2009, during Brown’s first season with the Lakers, Meghan Brennan asked the player about his tattoos for a Mouthpiecesports interview. Brown quickly ran down the tatooos on his right arm and hand, which include the word “Believe,” “Proverbs 3: 5-6” (although not the proverb text itself); his initials “SB,” and his mother’s name, “Sandra.”

Channing Frye
A 2013 profile in the Oregonian discusses the tattoo on Frye’s right forearm. It’s a pretty complicated narrative:

"His idyllic scene is etched on the inside of his right forearm, where his favorite tattoo depicts a mountain with several steps leading up to a rising sun. It is a place of esteem, for to reach the top, where the view is far-reaching and the sun rays stretch like exclamation points, one must overcome the steps of Doubt, Yourself, Fear, Hate, Lies and Envy, before reaching Happiness."

Diante Garrett
While still at Iowa State, Garrett was interviewed about his tattoos by the Des Moines Register. He discusses all of his tattoos, including his parents’ names, the phrase “Carpe Diem,” and his first tattoo, a gift-wrapped basketball with the text “God’s Gift.”

Marcin Gortat
During his second season in the NBA, Gortat made it to the finals as a backup center for the Magic. On the magnified stage of the championship round, it came to the attention of his sponsor, Reebok, that Gortat had Nike’s Michael Jordan Jumpman logo tattooed on his ankle. They requested that he wear long socks to cover the rival logo, or efface it with makeup. Gortat refused: “I’ve heard from other people that even other players, if they don’t know my name, they know I’m the big white guy with the Jordan tattoo. I like that. Reebok will have to get used to that.” Gortat is no longer sponsored by Reebok.

Hamed Haddadi
The NBA’s first Iranian player has a stylized dragon tattooed on his left shoulder.

Marcus Morris
Morris and his twin brother, Markieff Morris, share identical tattoo designs, including one that reads “FOE” which stands for Family Over Everything; one that reads “Death is a Promise”; and one that reads “Twin Towers.”

Markieff Morris
[see above]

Jermaine O’Neal
O’Neal’s right shoulder features a muscular figure surrounded by the text “Year of the Resurrection.” Asked about the tattoo in 2011, O’Neal couldn’t remember when or where he got it, stressing instead that the tattoo isn’t fixed to one year, but constantly refreshes: “It better be this year… I look at it like every year has been a resurrection year — being challenged, being knocked down and getting back up – but I’ve had a lot of trials and tribulations this year.”

P.J. Tucker
Tucker has tattoos on both arms.

Players without tattoos:

Goran Dragic
Jared Dudley
Wes Johnson
Kendall Marshall
Luis Scola



Boston Celtics 2011-12

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

The Celtics tattoo percentage remained the same as last year.

Players with tattoos:

Brandon Bass
Heavily tattooed on both arms.

Marquis Daniels
In 2009, Urban Ink magazine interviewed Daniels about his tattoos. He talks about the shotgun suicide one, and the one that reads “look through the eyes of a killer” but also talks about the one he got for his grandparents:  

When I was younger, I used to have to read the Bible to my grandmother and grandfather all the time, and that was their favorite scripture. It was like, always remember the scripture. If youre down, and you want to pray or whatever, read the scripture. Thats why I got the tattoo on the side.  Its my favorite verse also.  You know, when times get hard, I feel like, through the pain, after all the efforts I put forward, that verse protects me from anything evil.

I appreciate that he is able to bring evil into that one too.

Keyon Dooling
According to NBA.com, the cross tattoo on Dooling’s shoulder is to remind him that he’s blessed.

Kevin Garnett
Among KG’s tattoos is the text: “Only God can Judge me. Rest in Peace MS2” on his forearm. The text is a tribute combining the initials and jersey number of his Timberwolves teammate Malik Sealy who was killed by a drunk driver in 2000. Former teammate Joe Smith has the same tribute tattooed on his arm.

E’Twaun Moore
Rookie Moore has a cross tattoo on his left shoulder.

Jermaine O’Neal
O’Neal’s right shoulder features a muscular figure surrounded by the text “Year of the Resurrection.” Asked about the tattoo in 2011, O’Neal couldn’t remember when or where he got it, stressing instead that the tattoo isn’t fixed to one year, but constantly refreshes: “It better be this year… I look at it like every year has been a resurrection year — being challenged, being knocked down and getting back up – but I’ve had a lot of trials and tribulations this year.”

Aleksander Pavlovic
Pavlovic has a bit of text tattooed on his arm and a tiger on his ankle.

Paul Pierce
In September 2000, just before Pierce’s third year as a pro, he was stabbed 11 times at a nightclub in Boston. Several years later, he had a basketball with a dagger through it tattooed on his arm. As described by Pierce to the website Vegas Deluxe, “It represents how close I came to losing my life. Basketball is my gift and my curse. Obviously there are all the good things that come from playing basketball, but you also have to deal with all the negative things that come with being a basketball player.”

Mickael Pietrus
Pietrus has a tribal-inspired armband circling his right bicep.

Rajon Rondo
Rondo has the double-R Rolls Royce logo tattooed on his back, which also references his initials.

Players without tattoos:

Ray Allen
Avery Bradley
Ryan Hollins
JaJuan Johnson
Greg Stiemsma

No longer on roster:

Chris Wilcox: Wilcox has a tattoo on his left shoulder.



Boston Celtics 2010-11

Tattoo percentage:66% (10 players with tattoos/5 without)

Despite some trade-deadline maneuvers that sent away heavily tattooed Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson for un-tattooed Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, the Celtics remain above the league average for tattooed players.



Players with tattoos:

Carlos Arroyo

Arroyo’s sole tattoo is his daughter’s name on his left forearm.

Glen Davis

In the beginning of 2010 Davis announced that he would abandon his “Big Baby” nickname, however he continues to keep his mother close to his heart with her portrait and the text "mama’s boy" tattooed on his chest.

Kevin Garnett

Among KG’s few tattoos is the following text on his forearm: “Only God can Judge me. Rest in Peace MS2.” The text is a tribute combining the initials and jersey number of his Timberwolves teammate Malik Sealy who was killed by a drunk driver in 2000. Former teammate (and current Laker) Joe Smith has the same tribute on his arm.

Jermaine O’Neal

Heavily
tattooed. His "Year of the Resurrection" text, added in 1999 on his right shoulder, is a nice commemoration of Christian mythos and Y2K anxiety.

Shaquille O’Neal

In typical Shaq humor, O’Neal claimed in a 2009 article, “I have all these tattoos because my parents let me get them. I have to fax the designs to them beforehand.”

Aleksandar Pavlovic

One of the rare tattooed Euro players in the league, Pavlovic has text on his forearm and a tiger on his ankle.

Paul Pierce

In 2010 he got his nickname, “The Truth” tattooed on his forearm, garnished with a couple of clever references to the game: a clover for the Celtics and a pair of dice reading 3 and 4 (his jersey number is 34).

Rajon Rondo

Although it can’t be seen on the court, Rondo has the Rolls Royce logo inked on his back, a gentle reference to his initials.

Von Wafer

Has a few tattoos, including a cobweb on his elbow, representing his struggle.

Delonte West

Among his many tattoos (including a Christian religious narrative that starts on his neck and runs down his chest) is script along his ribs reads: “For those I love I sacrifice.” In an interview he elaborated, “I definitely sacrificed getting them on these ribs, I’ll tell you that.”

Players without tattoos:

Ray Allen

Avery Bradley

Jeff Green

Nenad Krstic

Troy Murphy



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.