Tattoo percentage: 47% (7 players with tattoos, 8 players without)
If you look at last year’s page for the Blazers, you’ll note that this year I’m just replicating all of the text I wrote then, as opposed to other teams where I’ve tried to provide new information/research. For the Blazers I’ve decided to phone it in in an act of solidarity with the 2011-12 Blazers team.
Players with tattoos:
While it’s notable that Aldridge has the most tattoos on the Blazers, it’s more notable that every one of his tattoos carries religious significance: praying hands, crosses, the text “KEEP GOD FIRST.” When asked about his collection, Aldridge simply replied, “Because I’m a man of strong faith. Strong beliefs.”
Players from Seattle tend to have a lot of tattoos (Nate Robinson, Jason Terry, Terrence Williams) and Crawford is one of the heaviest. On his left shoulder is one of the dreamiest basketball-themed tattoos in the league: against a background of heavenly clouds, a hoop glows, with “Jamal” lettered across the backboard in Olde English.
To show his love for his mother, Matthews got a tattoo that reads “Dynamic Duo” for his eighteenth birthday. For an NBA.com article titled “Wesley Matthews: A Proud Mama’s Boy,” his mother recalled, “I wouldn’t let him get a tattoo until he was of legal age. He had little skinny arms then so it wasn’t a very big tattoo.”
Nolan Smith was nine years old when his father, NBA champion Derek Smith passed away at the age of 34 from a previously undetected heart defect. A 2008 profile published by ESPN during Nolan’s freshman year at Duke described the tattoo tribute the son has for his father:
Years later, when Nolan was 16, he asked Monica if he could get a tattoo. She first refused, then changed her mind when he said he wanted one of his father.
“I said, ‘You can get that, but you have to wear it with honor and integrity,’ ” Monica said. “That’s the only tattoo he’ll ever have.”
The green ink on Nolan Smith’s right biceps reads “Forever watching”. Below that is 4RIP3, and a sketch of his father’s face, followed with “Derek Smith 1961-1996”.
“I have this tattoo on my arm,” Nolan said, “and I remember him at all times.”
Players without tattoos:
No longer on roster:
Armon Johnson: no tattoos
Greg Oden:Oden entered the league with a tribute to his deceased best friend over his heart, as described by a New York Times piece.
Mehmet Okur: no tattoos
Tattoo percentage: 47% (7 players with tattoos, 8 without)
The Bulls have one of the lower tattoo percentages in the league, however the surprise that clean cut Kyle Korver has one somehow counts extra.
Players with tattoos:
Bogans has a tattoo of a bull, but not for his team: “I have one tattoo of a taurus on my arm. It’s a bull, it fits my personality. The other one is a panther with a basketball … I got that when I was a little bit younger.”
Raised in Alaska, Boozer represents his home state with a tattoo of a grizzly bear. He didn’t leave himself out though, as the bear is surrounded by the text “C BOOZ UNLEASH THE BEAST.”
Brewer may lead the league in basketball tattoos, with one on each shoulder and a hoop on his forearm.
Early in Butler’s career, he got a tattoo reading “Against All Odds” on his left shoulder, circling the letters “SP” for his hometown of South Philadephia. During the subsequent ten years, he got the rest of his arm filled in with textures and a harp (?) but it’s nice to see the original design intact.
“We all have our favorite bible verse in my family,” explained Korver’s younger brother Kaleb in a 2009 profile, and the brothers both had their favorites tattooed on their ribs.
Not surprisingly, the sweetest dude in the NBA can made a story about getting his hand tattooed into a heart-lifting tear jerker: “I got my mom’s name with a rose behind it. Because her last name’s Rose—Brenda Rose—it’s not an ex-girlfriend or anything like that. She told me ‘don’t get it.’ Actually when I showed it to her, it was her and her friend downstairs at her house, I went out there. She said, ‘let me look at your hand.’ She looked at my hand and started crying, showing her friend, like ‘look at his tattoo’ calling me her little baby.”
Has tattoos of his family’s names on his right arm.
Players without tattoos:
John Lucas III
Joakim Noah: Noah is decidedly anti-tattoo: “I think that this is just a trend that Allen Iverson started. But I think that it’s almost like more unique now not to have them than to have them. I think that a lot of them are corny, to be honest with you.”
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.