Tattoo percentage: 67% (10 players with tattoos, 5 without)
The Jazz increased their percentage of tattooed players slightly from last year.
Players with tattoos:
When Carroll was 5 years old, his older brother DeLonté died from a brain tumor. While Carroll was a senior at Missouri, a St. Louis Post Dispatch article posed him as a “big brother” for his teammates, explaining he learned the importance of this role from DeLonté, who he’d since commemorated in a R.I.P./portrait tattoo on his arm.
Favors’s Jesus with possession tattoo was featured in Dime Magazine’s best new ink column in 2010.
One of the most heartbreaking tattoos in the league (or that I’ve heard of, period), Foye has a tattoo of his mother over his heart. Raised by his two grandmothers after his father died and his mother ran out on the family, Foye marked his 22nd birthday with this tribute to his absent parent. A 2006 interview painted yearning, not forgiveness as the inspiration for the design: “If my mom was here today, she would probably be the most important person in my life. I know how I treat my grandmother and I put my grandmother in her place on a pedestal. I just felt as if I needed something of her attached to me, so I just put her over my heart.”
McNeal has tattoos on both arms.
Millsap has a pair of praying hands tattooed on his left arm.
Murphy has a very unusual tattoo on his hands which spells out the phrase “Son of God.”
Tinsley has a tattoo on his right forearm.
When they were teammates on the Sonics, Kevin Durant described Watson’s backpiece as one of his favorites in the league: “Earl has a cool one on his back that says, ‘La Familia [ the family]’ with the cars on the back, I like that one, too.”
Williams is one of the most tattooed players on the Jazz. An Akron Beacon article from March 2012 describes one of his tattoos normally hidden by his jersey:
Among his many tattoos, Clippers guard Mo Williams has an NBA tattoo on his back that has nothing to do with basketball, but instead reads “Never Broke Again.”
Also one of the most tattooed players on the Jazz, Williams has been a regular at Tattoos by Randy, due to the proximity of the shop to the Atlanta airport (Williams played on the Hawks for seven seasons). Now that he’s in Utah, it seems like he’s slowing down with tattoos. According to a ESPN.com article, not only did Williams not add any tattoos this summer, “I’m actually in the process of getting one removed from my hand.”
Players without tattoos:
ESPN has a nice feature where they ask several NBA players a series of questions about the offseason. For example: “Did you pick up any new hobbies?” or “Who was the coolest person you met this summer?” They also asked “Did you get any new ink?” which revealed some interesting information. The whole piece is worth a look, but the highlight has to be the story about the time Brian Cook tried to get a tattoo:
A couple of years ago my wife tried to take me, man, to get one done by [popular tattoo artist] Kat Von D in L.A., but on the way, I don’t know what happened, I told her to pull over. I started throwing up. She’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ I was like, ‘Take me home.’ I think I was just nervous, man. I guess tattoos aren’t for me. My wife was pregnant with my first son, so I was going to get his name or something to do with my family or a Bible scripture. Maybe I’ll try again sometime soon, but I don’t know.
I like how he sounds flustered, like even the memory puts him in danger of throwing up. Looking forward to seeing Paul George’s lion and tiger tattoos this year, and Amir Johnson’s Spawn collage.
This is a great interview with Randy Harris of Tattoos by Randy (as mentioned here last month). He lists all of the NBA players he’s tattooed over the years, it is a long and impressive list. A few highlights:
Really a great video, so much gratitude to iHoopAround. Also it was nice to hear the instrumental for “I’m Kurious” in the background…
PS the “clean” version of Travis Porter’s “Tatted Up” used in the beginning of the video really threw me off, I actually thought something was wrong with the video. Don’t let it discourage you!
Tattoo percentage: 53% (8 players with tattoos, 7 without)
The Hawks go pretty classic, with a lot of R.I.P. tattoos, hometown tributes, some nostalgia, and a DMX reference. They have fewer tattooed players than last year, but some pretty respectable numbers overall.
Players with tattoos:
Rem 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.
McGrady, who has suffered a lot of criticism from announcers and analysts, has a response on his right shoulder, just below a speeding basketball and his nickname. Against a curled scroll, a poignant bit of scripture: “AND EVERY TONGUE THAT SHALL RISE UP AGAINST THEE IN JUDGEMENT SHALL BE COMDEMNED—ISAIAH 54:17.”
In October of 2011, Teague posted photos of his full sleeves on twitter, representing his hometown of Indiana with the 317 area code, an Interstate 465 sign, and a skyline.
Williams is a regular customer at Tattoos by Randy with tattoos on both arms and across his chest.
Players without tattoos:
Anonymous asked: Hello! Any insight into who the artists are who've tattooed many of the NBA players? (Or a list of some of the most famous?) Thanks!
Sure! There are a couple artists who can claim to have tattooed the most NBA players.
The first is Mr. Cartoon, based in Los Angeles. Cartoon is best known for his work with rappers and other musicians—his wikipedia page lists Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Prodigy, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé. He’s done tattoos for many of the most notoriously tattooed NBA players, including Amar’e Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer. He’s also done some charity work with LeBron James, but I’m not sure he he’s done any LBJ’s tattoos.
I think the dude that’s responsible for tattooing the most NBA players has to be Randy Harris from Tattoos by Randy, based in Atlanta. His myspace page is an incredible source of photos of NBA players—Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Jamal Crawford, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson, Shelden Williams. The list is long, I mean, Stephen Jackson actually has his own portfolio. If you check his twitter page, you’ll see a lot of dialogue with NBA players. He and Kevin Durant exchanged a lot of discussion about new designs via twitter last summer, culminating in a photo of Randy and Durant’s massive backpiece. The OKC connection doesn’t stop there, as Randy has also done work for Royal Ivey and Eric Maynor. Randy has also done a lot of work for Monta Ellis, and apparently the two go fishing together as well.
I keep meaning to do a rundown of all of the players Randy has tattooed, but in the meantime I saw today on twitter that iHoopAround will premiere a piece about Tattoos by Randy with input from Durant, Maynor, and Daequan Cook. I’ll post a link when that happens….
Tattoo percentage: 64% (9 players with tattoos, 5 without)
I didn’t watch the Hawks enough this year to get a good sense of their character. That fight between Marvin Williams and Shawne Williams (of the Knicks) in January was the most memorable event, followed by the little rivalry between Amar’e Stoudemire and Al Horford that took place entirely in the press and was put to rest when the Knicks won their next two match-ups. I guess the lesson is you shouldn’t trust dudes with Marvin the Martian tattoos?
Players with tattoos:
The website UCONN Hoop Legends reports that Armstrong was so proud of his contributions to the 2004 Huskies NCAA championship that, “he had a tattoo of the ring put on his arm.” Sadly, they leave out the details of the design, in which the ring is raised by a kneeling figure who stands no taller than the ring itself.
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.
Has a chain tattooed on his left wrist in honor of his deceased grandfather.
Jackson has his mother’s name and an outline of the state of Arkansas (his birthplace) tattooed on his wrists.
Has a tribute to his deceased son on his back.
Smith turned 13 years old in 1998, so it’s no wonder that DMX’s Flesh of My Flesh Blood of My Blood had a massive impact on him, enough to inspire the tattoo on his collar.
Has tattoos on both arms.
Lightly tattooed on both shoulders.
Another heavily-tattooed player raised in Seattle, Wiliams got his first tattoo in high school: Marvin the Martian. Since that time has added many tattoos, including his mother’s name, the letters GBMS (“God Bless My Success”) and the words “Heart of a Lion” across his shoulders.
Players without tattoos:
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.