Tattoo percentage: 47% (7 players with tattoos; 8 without)
The Bucks were one of the most heavily tattooed teams last year, but with the loss of John Salmons, Corey Maggette, and, most notably, Chris Douglas-Roberts, their numbers have fallen this year, even with the addition of Monta Ellis.
Players with tattoos:
Brockman and his two siblings all have a tattoo of the Tree of Life. According to their father, “it’s not a real popular topic in our household.” According to Brockman, “it’s something close to me and it reminds me of my brother and sister when I don’t get to see them for a long time. So I like it.”
There’s something about the stylized, bold lines of Delfino’s dragon tattoo that makes me think it’s a logo or from a flag or something, but I’ve never found any corollary. Someone did get a copy of it in 2009….
One of the most heavily tattooed players in the league, Ellis got his start the summer following his rookie year, according to a 2010 USA Today profile: “It started four years ago, when Ellis, 25, who admits to being bored and a homebody, was back home in Jackson, Miss., and Memphis. He got 14 tattoos during an offseason.” According to an interview with Randy Wittman of Tattoos by Randy, whose done most of Ellis’s tattoos, including his well loved chest and back pieces, Ellis can sit for 8-10 hour sessions, which kind of breaks my mind.
Gooden has historically put a lot of effort into unconventional looks, such as this haircut or this beard. A 2007 Akron Beacon-Journal article focuses on Gooden’s then-recent tattoo, his first new work since he was 15 years old. The article reports that the tattoo is Dali-like, featuring a melting clock, set to 11:11 for good luck. At opposite sides of the clock a pair of angels and a devil observe time, completing this fittingly outlandish design for Gooden. Still, not really beats actually seeing it.
L.A. native Jennings was two years old when N.W.A.’s Efil4zaggin came out, but the record clearly had an impact on Jennings, as evidenced by the “Always Into Somethin’” tattoo on his calf. A couple years ago Jennings posted a photo of the album on tape, but it’s not really worth digging through his twitter pics to find it. Sorry.
Last fall Sanders was featured on the internet TV show “Marked Up” where he discussed his path to becoming one of the NBA’s most heavily tattooed players. Interestingly, he gives partial credit to a college professor, who he described as “sleeved up.”
Players without tattoos:
Luc Mbah a Moute
Players no longer on roster:
Darington Hobson: no tattoos
Tattoo percentage: 71% (10 with tattoos, 4 without)
The Bucks have had a tough time establishing an identity over the last few decades, with their marquee players falling to injury and many seasons passing without much note. In the last year this “fear the deer” movement has started though, and fittingly, the Bucks have assembled a bunch of oddballs and unpredictable players who can embrace both the silliness and the necessity of the slogan. Their tattoos follow suit.
Players with tattoos:
Bogut has a tattoo on his back but he’s not really willing to discuss it: “The tattoo is a mix of things, a lot of it is kind of personal,” he explained one one of those NBA.com player chats, “There’s some Australian stuff and also some Croatian stuff in it.” Which is hilarious considering all of the topics he is willing to open his big mouth about.
As a teenager, Brockman got a tattoo of the tree of life on his lower back, as did his older brother and sister. “My mom doesn’t like it at all,” he explained to the Seattle Times in 2008, “Neither does my dad. But it’s in a place where no one sees it. It’s something close to me and it reminds me of my brother and sister when I don’t get to see them for a long time. So I like it.”
Delfino sports a dragon on his left shoulder.
On Dooling’s left shoulder is a tattoo of a cross.
Douglas Roberts is great at twitter, his steady feed a mixture of funny observations, style tips, and hurting feelings. Given his many tattoos, a fan recently asked him for his advice, and CDR replied: “get somem original….& Them shits hurt really bad.”
Gooden has historically put a lot of effort into unconventional looks, such as this haircut or this beard. A 2007 Akron Beacon-Journal article focuses in on Gooden’s then-recent tattoo, his first new design since he was 15 years old. The article reports that the tattoo is Dali-like, featuring a melting clock, set to 11:11 for good luck. At opposite sides of the clock a pair of angels and a devil observe time, completing this fittingly outlandish design for Gooden. Still, nothing really beats actually seeing it.
During Jennings’ rookie year, he answered questions for a Hoops Hype interview, including one about his many tattoos: “On my right arm, it’s laugh now, cry later. It’s for all the haters who said I would never make it in life. And there’s a man holding a ball with a city behind him, which is basically me holding a basketball with my city behind me. On the left one, it’s my mom (Alice Knox) and my brother (Terrence). It shows I’m blessed.”
Maggette has a tattoo on his right shoulder.
Salmons has Chinese characters on his right arm. According to the website NiuBBall.com, it’s identical to Jermaine O’Neal’s Chinese tattoo, and means “person who sells coffins.”
Maybe ten years ago someone I knew had to spend some time in prison. He wasn’t exactly a tough guy, so before he went in he decided to get a tattoo that might make him look hard enough that he could avoid fights. He had two full-size pistols tattooed on his waistline, so it looked like the guns were tucked into his pants. It was an intense decision, and one that only half worked.
I’d never seen anyone else with the design until Sanders was drafted by the Bucks and this photo appeared on his twitter page.
Players without tattoos:
Luc Mbah a Moute
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.