A new tattoo for Lou Williams

Lou Williams, out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, used some of his time off to get a new tattoo by Randy Harris of Tattoos by Randy today. No photos of the design yet, but Williams has posted several photos of the session on his instagram page, including the repost shown above.

Atlanta Hawks, 2012-13

Tattoo percentage: 80% (12 players with tattoos, 3 without)


With the additions of Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, and Lou Williams, the Hawks tattoo percentage jumped far ahead of last year.

Players with tattoos:

Devin Harris
Harris has an elaborate design tattooed on his left arm. In an interview with The Guardian, Harris explained a bit about the tattoo: “That’s kind of my conscience. It’s just there with me, all the time. I wouldn’t say I designed it but I had a hand in it, me and the tattoo artist himself.”

John Jenkins
Jenkins has a tattoo on his chest, although the design is unknown.

Ivan Johnson
Rembert 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.

Dahntay Jones
Jones has a number of tattoos across his arms and chest.

Kyle Korver
In 2006, Korver told Sports Illustrated that he promised his mother he’s wait until her death before getting a tattoo. In 2009, as reported by Omaha.com, he and his brother Kaleb got tattoos of their favorite bible verses. Kaleb remarked that their mother was “good with it” and that they’re trying to convince their other two brothers to join in.

Shelvin Mack
It’s difficult to make out the design (I think it’s a “laugh now/cry later”), but Mack has a tattoo on his left arm.

Johan Petro
Petro has tattoos on both arms.

Mike Scott
Rookie Scott came into the league with 13 tattoos, as described in a ESPN profile:

Scott has 13 tattoos (and counting), including the initials of his two little brothers, Antonn and Derrick, tattooed onto his wrists; his mother’s initials are tattooed on one side of his neck and his father’s tattooed onto the other side.

Josh Smith
Among Smith’s many tattoos is a throwback Hawks logo (circa 1972-1995) on his left arm.

DeShawn Stevenson
In a 2010 video interview, after pointing out his most recent tattoos—his wife’s name above his eyebrow, her initials behind his left ear, and his jersey number on his neck—Stevenson states, “my mom, she said no more tattoos on my face, so I got to listen to her.”

Jeff Teague
As soon as the 2011-12 season ended, Teague added a full sleeve to his left arm.

Lou Williams
Williams has the word “MOTIVATION” tattooed across his back. He explained the design of the tattoo for Urban Ink Magazine:

I designed the tattoo myself when I was 17. The idea came to me to get motivation across my back, and I wanted to spell it out for all the people that motivated me. So, what I did was, I wrote down all the names of family members and friends and all of the people that helped me along the way, and I just made it all intertwine, and it came out perfect. It was incredible how the words went together and everything. I was really motivated by my family and my friends, and the people that supported me from day one.

Players without tattoos:

Al Horford
Zaza Pachulia
Anthony Tolliver

Kind of a bummer night for NBA games, just spotted this really hectic chess board/race flag tattoo in Lou Williams’ underarm. That is a painful spot!

Kind of a bummer night for NBA games, just spotted this really hectic chess board/race flag tattoo in Lou Williams’ underarm. That is a painful spot!

Philadelphia 76ers 2011-12

Tattoo percentage: 31% (4 players with tattoos, 9 without)

The 76ers tattoo percentage dropped from last year. Iverson’s presence continues to overshadow the NBA tattoo conversation, which doesn’t have anything to do with the below-average tattoo percentage of the Sixers, but is impossible not to consider. With the exception of Lou Williams, nobody on the team has many tattoos, but in Doug Collins, they do have one of the two tattooed head coaches in the league (the other is Byron Scott).

Players with tattoos:

Tony Battie
An NBA.com chat revealed the backstory of Battie’s Batman logo tattoo: “I did that in college. All the guys used to call me “Bat” or “Big Bat”. I was a leading shotblocker in college, so I was battin’ down those shots, so the Batman thing just came with that.”

Jrue Holiday
It seems the internet has swallowed the photo of Holiday shirtless leaning against a chain link fence. In it, you could see the full back piece with his name and college jersey number (#21).

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.”

Lou Williams
Clearly the most tattooed player on the Sixers, Williams seems to have a pretty tricky relationship with tattoos. In 2009 he posted on twitter that he was considering removing most of his tattoos as a sign of his maturity. But he hasn’t gone through with it, and his recent twitter feed shows him enabling other people’s tattoos. As evidenced by a photo posted on twitter, Williams hosted Meek Mill's first tattoo right in his own home. Seeing that made me weirdly jealous of both of them.

Players without tattoos:

Lavoy Allen
Craig Brackins
Elton Brand
Spencer Hawes
Jodie Meeks
Evan Turner
Nikola Vucevic
Sam Young
Thaddeus Young

No longer on roster:

Andres Nocioni: Has tattoos of a wolf, a bear, and his nickname, according to this article on the website Olé.

Urban Ink Magazine

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


Thank you Ty Lawson for giving a name to the post-season months:

Both Paul George

And Lou Williams have also declared their summertime intentions in the past 24 hours:

Monta Ellis

Ellis is one of my favorites in the league. Things got pretty tough for him at the end of this year (and that season-ending concussion was one of the scarier injuries I’ve seen in a long time) but in the colder part of the winter I stayed up late for every single Warriors game, and they were some of the only ones I went back and watched a second time. A big part of that was Monta’s 4th quarter shooting, which I like because he’s creative and athletic and so ridiculously quick, but also because he’s so nonchalant about it. Strolling over to the free throw line like he didn’t just tie the game with four seconds left. Languidly tapping Acie Law’s hand while the whole rest of the team is jumping up and down screaming. He might as well be alone at Sunday morning on a playground. No big deal.

Recently both Ball Don’t Lie and Basketball Jones have reported on Ellis’ “new” tree tattoo. The thing is, the tattoo isn’t new. The earliest I saw the above photo was in January on Portland Roundball Society but I have a feeling it’s older than that. That’s a lot of ink to get mid-season.

The recent attention comes from the new photo of Monta that appears on the Tattoos by Randy myspace page. Randy is an Atlanta-based artist who I think has done more work for NBA players than anyone—Stephen Jackson, Josh Smith, AI, Lou Williams. He’s also Carmelo Anthony’s main guy. Here’s a photo of Randy and Monta fishing together:

more on Randy soon…

Philadelphia Sixers, 2010-11

Tattoo percentage: 40% (6 players with tattoos, 9 without)

Obviously the presence of Iverson overshadows any tattoos happening at Wells Fargo Center. Rodman claims the title, but Iverson is the force that brought tattoos to the NBA, even Joakim Noah says so. These days Philadelphia has a below-average number of tattooed players, but they do have something no other team has: a tattooed head coach. As described by a recent Sports Illustrated profile, Doug Collins has a tattoo of his favorite bible verse (Proverbs 3:5-6) and the names of his four grandchildren on his chest.

Players with tattoos:

Tony Battie
Because he normally wears a shooter sleeve or even just an arm band (embarrassed?), it’s not really common knowledge that Battie had a tattoo of the Batman logo on his left arm. For an NBA.com chat, he explained the significance of the design: “I did that in college. All the guys used to call me “Bat” or “Big Bat”. I was a leading shotblocker in college, so I was battin’ down those shots, so the Batman thing just came with that.”

Antonio Daniels
The majority of Daniels’ tattoos are tributes to his brother Chris, who died suddenly in his senior year of college. On his left arm, Daniels wears a portrait of his brother meshed with a cross. Inked on his right arm is the dates of his brother’s birth and death, and over his heart, Japanese characters spelling out “In memory of my brother.”

Jrue Holiday  
It’s sad that Holiday doesn’t get to wear #21 for the Sixers (it belongs to Thad Young) since he has it tattooed on his back.

Andre Iguodala 
Iguodala discusses his tattoos in a youtube interview, which he really wants to get removed, maybe: “I might keep it, but this one I got to take off. I was young when I got these tattoos.”

Andres Nocioni
Nocioni has tattoos of a wolf and a bear, the latter of which is marked with his nickname, Chapu.

Marreese Speights
Speights has several tattoos on his arms, including his mother’s name on his forearm.

Lou Williams
Williams is clearly the most heavily tattooed player on the Sixers, enough so he doesn’t even register his teammates’ work, which I guess, by comparison, is pretty minimal. A 2011 interview saw him claim: “I’m probably the only guy with tattoos on our team, probably the only one with a little edgy personality, and that’s it. Outside of that, I think we’re a pretty square basketball team.”

Players without tattoos:

Craig Brackins   

Elton Brand  

Spencer Hawes   

Jason Kapono 

Jodie Meeks  

Darius Songalia   

Evan Turner 

Thaddeus Young

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.