Memphis Grizzlies, 2013-14

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

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The Grizzlies have fewer tattooed players than last season.

Players with tattoos:

Mike Conley
As described in a video interview, Conley has Luke 23:34 (“Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”) tattooed on his right arm. He explained in the video that the tattoo helped him during his first years in the league, during a time in which, “off the court, I was always sad, always looking at things in a negative view, and I found this quote… it moved me a lot, and I just wanted to have that stick with me.”

Ed Davis
Davis has tattoos along both arms.

Jamaal Franklin
Franklin has tattoos on both of his arms.

James Johnson
The collection of tattoos on Johnson’s arms includes a collection of aces, a portrait of Christ, an castle turret, and the air Jordan logo.

Courtney Lee
A 2010 NBA.com article revisited the end of Lee’s freshman year of college, when his roommate and close friend Danny Rumph died from a heart attack. To commemorate their friendship, and pay tribute, Lee got a tattoo on his right arm.

Mike Miller
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.

Zach Randolph
Randolph has tattoos on both arms.

Players without tattoos:

Tony Allen
Nick Calathes
Marc Gasol
Kosta Koufos
Jon Leuer
Quincy Pondexter
Tayshaun Prince
Beno Udrih



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



Denver Nuggets 2010-11

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

Denver has a reputation for being the most tattooed team in the league, and up until their massive mid-season trade, they did. The February shake-up that sent Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, and Shelden Williams to New York and brought Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Ray Felton, Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos to Denver traded five tattooed players for two. Before the trade, the Nuggets had 12 players with tattoos and two without, barely edging out the Lakers and Knicks for most tattoos. After the trade, Denver doesn’t even stand in the top five (there are six teams with more tattooed players).

Regardless of numbers, it’s interesting to consider the impression of the Nuggets as most tattooed, which may go hand-in-hand with their other reputation, the one that earned them the nickname the Denver Thuggets. Obviously there’s a tone set by Kenyon Martin’s trash talk and J.R. Smith’s all-highlights no-rudiments bravado. But thinking about the Nuggets’ tattoos you also have to consider Al Harrington’s unpredictability and Chris Andersen’s sideshow ridiculousness. It’s nice to think that tattoos may exit the endless conversation lamenting the lack of fundamentals, the prevalence of dunking, the lost art of passing and just become an occasionally-exciting side note to the game. Bill Simmons seems to think so: “Because of their phenomenal collection of tattoos, no team has ever been more fascinating to watch in HD — which makes it doubly funny that they play in Denver, the one city in which people would absolutely get stoned and watch a basketball game just to marvel at tattoos in HD for 150 minutes. I’m telling you, there is MAJOR karma going on here.”



Players with tattoos:

Chris Andersen
The Birdman’s transition from anonymous crewcut dude to mohawked warrior is well documented, and he’s created enough of an identity through his tattoos that people who couldn’t care less about basketball know all about this second squad forward.

Wilson Chandler

I have a real soft spot for Chandler stemming from his heart and his bravery during the Isiah Thomas dark years for the Knicks. He always had some kind of surprise for the crowd, even if sometimes it was just a new angle on one of his tattoos. Apparently other Knicks fans agreed, and when Chandler had a blog on the Knicks site, questions about his tattoos vastly outnumbered any others, and he dedicated an entire blog entry to discussing them. One of the weirder ones in the list, even though his nonchalance makes it sound pretty casual, is his eyeball tattoo: “On my hand I have a picture of an eye with the words ‘All is Well’ underneath. It’s supposed to be an angels eye that watches over me, protects me and lets me know that all is well.” That’s a lot to ask of a tattoo. Chandler deserves it.

Also notable: the full-back portrait of X-Men villain Juggernaut.

Melvin Ely

Has tattoos on both shoulders, including a writhing dragon on his right side.

Gary Forbes

At the beginning of 2009, Forbes was an undrafted UMass product with a handful of tattoos on his arms. By the end of 2010, he had notched his first start in an NBA game, and had his previously isolated designs woven together into two full sleeves, heavy on the stars.

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.”

Al Harrington

Among Harrington’s many tattoos is a great snarling wolf over his heart with the words “Killer Instinct.” Bonus humor points: the “veni vidi vici” tattoo on his collar is often misread as saying something about weed.

Ty Lawson
After joining the Nuggets, Lawson got a full sleeve tattooed on his left arm.

Kenyon Martin
 
Few NBA tattoos have gotten as much attention as Martin’s neck work, which began as the lips of his then-girlfriend Trina and since their breakup has been covered by a crown.

J.R. Smith
There’s been some debate about who has more tattoos, Smith or Andersen, but Gary Forbes says it’s Smith for sure. Since Smith is one of the most tattooed players in the league, it follows that he’s had his designs well documented. I think 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.

Players without tattoos:

Arron Afflalo

Raymond Felton

Kosta Koufos

Timofey Mozgov

Nene



NBA tattoos


2013-14 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 55%
241 players with tattoos, 201 without [details]


2013-13 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 56% [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
Pelicans - 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.