Boston Celtics, 2012-13

Tattoo percentage: 67% (10 players with tattoos, 5 without)

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The Celtics kept their tattoo percentage even with last year.

Players with tattoos:

Brandon Bass
Among Bass’s many tattoos is the phrase “God, Grind, Greatness” on the inside of his left bicep. In a profile by Ben Watanabe, Bass explained that the phrase originated during his high school days:

"During the week, I would work out, and on the weekend I would go play in tournaments. So I was praying, working on my game and then when we were in tournaments, I was getting ranked higher. To me, it equaled success, me praying and working hard, so that’s how I came up with ‘God, Grind, Greatness.’"

Jordan Crawford
Crawford has the words “Fab Five” tattooed on his back of his arms.

Kevin Garnett
As reported by Red’s Army, Garnett got a new tattoo in August of 2012. The design was done at FY Ink, who shared a handful of photos of the work in progress.

Courtney Lee
Lee credits his entire professional career to the guidance and mentoring of Danny Rumph, a promising point guard who died of a heart condition at the age of 21. The two met at Western Kentucky University, where Rumph’s positive influence kept Lee in school and focused on basketball. Following Rumph’s death, Lee designed a tribute to his friend, tattooed on his right arm. As described by Fran Blinebury for NBA.com:

“The tattoo on his right biceps is a drawing of his friend wearing his Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap on his head, with wings sprouting from his shoulders and holding a basketball with the No. 11 inside. A couple of other Western Kentucky teammates, Anthony Winchester and Elgrace Wilborn, have the same tattoo that Lee had sketched out.”

Fab Melo
Melo has a tattoo on his right shoulder.

Paul Pierce
In September 2000, just before Pierce’s third year as a pro, he was stabbed 11 times at a nightclub in Boston. Several years later, he had a basketball with a dagger through it tattooed on his arm. As described by Pierce to the website Vegas Deluxe, “It represents how close I came to losing my life. Basketball is my gift and my curse. Obviously there are all the good things that come from playing basketball, but you also have to deal with all the negative things that come with being a basketball player.”

Rajon Rondo
Rondo has the double-R Rolls Royce logo tattooed on his back, which also references his initials.

Jason Terry
Terry has a tattoo of Underdog, which he explained in a 2008 Dime Magazine interview: “I never was seen as one of the best players on the court ’til senior year of high school. Even at Arizona, I was not a starter ’til senior year.”

Chris Wilcox
Wilcox has tattoos on both arms.

Terrence Williams
Williams is one of several heavily-tattooed players from Seattle. A 2009 New York Times profile touched upon this phenomenon, noting that Williams and Nate Robinson grew up together “in the Seattle development referred to as “8 Block,” a reference to the government-assisted housing known as Section 8.” Two of the most heavily-inked players in the league, Williams and Robinson have a matching tattoo of the number 8 inside a spiderweb to commemorate their shared adolescence.

Players without tattoos:

Avery Bradley
Jeff Green
Shavlik Randolph
Jared Sullinger
D.J. White



Boston Celtics 2011-12

Tattoo percentage: 67% (10 players with tattoos/5 without)

The Celtics tattoo percentage remained the same as last year.

Players with tattoos:

Brandon Bass
Heavily tattooed on both arms.

Marquis Daniels
In 2009, Urban Ink magazine interviewed Daniels about his tattoos. He talks about the shotgun suicide one, and the one that reads “look through the eyes of a killer” but also talks about the one he got for his grandparents:  

When I was younger, I used to have to read the Bible to my grandmother and grandfather all the time, and that was their favorite scripture. It was like, always remember the scripture. If youre down, and you want to pray or whatever, read the scripture. Thats why I got the tattoo on the side.  Its my favorite verse also.  You know, when times get hard, I feel like, through the pain, after all the efforts I put forward, that verse protects me from anything evil.

I appreciate that he is able to bring evil into that one too.

Keyon Dooling
According to NBA.com, the cross tattoo on Dooling’s shoulder is to remind him that he’s blessed.

Kevin Garnett
Among KG’s tattoos is the text: “Only God can Judge me. Rest in Peace MS2” on his forearm. The text is a tribute combining the initials and jersey number of his Timberwolves teammate Malik Sealy who was killed by a drunk driver in 2000. Former teammate Joe Smith has the same tribute tattooed on his arm.

E’Twaun Moore
Rookie Moore has a cross tattoo on his left shoulder.

Jermaine O’Neal
O’Neal’s right shoulder features a muscular figure surrounded by the text “Year of the Resurrection.” Asked about the tattoo in 2011, O’Neal couldn’t remember when or where he got it, stressing instead that the tattoo isn’t fixed to one year, but constantly refreshes: “It better be this year… I look at it like every year has been a resurrection year — being challenged, being knocked down and getting back up – but I’ve had a lot of trials and tribulations this year.”

Aleksander Pavlovic
Pavlovic has a bit of text tattooed on his arm and a tiger on his ankle.

Paul Pierce
In September 2000, just before Pierce’s third year as a pro, he was stabbed 11 times at a nightclub in Boston. Several years later, he had a basketball with a dagger through it tattooed on his arm. As described by Pierce to the website Vegas Deluxe, “It represents how close I came to losing my life. Basketball is my gift and my curse. Obviously there are all the good things that come from playing basketball, but you also have to deal with all the negative things that come with being a basketball player.”

Mickael Pietrus
Pietrus has a tribal-inspired armband circling his right bicep.

Rajon Rondo
Rondo has the double-R Rolls Royce logo tattooed on his back, which also references his initials.

Players without tattoos:

Ray Allen
Avery Bradley
Ryan Hollins
JaJuan Johnson
Greg Stiemsma

No longer on roster:

Chris Wilcox: Wilcox has a tattoo on his left shoulder.



Boston Celtics 2010-11

Tattoo percentage:66% (10 players with tattoos/5 without)

Despite some trade-deadline maneuvers that sent away heavily tattooed Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson for un-tattooed Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, the Celtics remain above the league average for tattooed players.



Players with tattoos:

Carlos Arroyo

Arroyo’s sole tattoo is his daughter’s name on his left forearm.

Glen Davis

In the beginning of 2010 Davis announced that he would abandon his “Big Baby” nickname, however he continues to keep his mother close to his heart with her portrait and the text "mama’s boy" tattooed on his chest.

Kevin Garnett

Among KG’s few tattoos is the following text on his forearm: “Only God can Judge me. Rest in Peace MS2.” The text is a tribute combining the initials and jersey number of his Timberwolves teammate Malik Sealy who was killed by a drunk driver in 2000. Former teammate (and current Laker) Joe Smith has the same tribute on his arm.

Jermaine O’Neal

Heavily
tattooed. His "Year of the Resurrection" text, added in 1999 on his right shoulder, is a nice commemoration of Christian mythos and Y2K anxiety.

Shaquille O’Neal

In typical Shaq humor, O’Neal claimed in a 2009 article, “I have all these tattoos because my parents let me get them. I have to fax the designs to them beforehand.”

Aleksandar Pavlovic

One of the rare tattooed Euro players in the league, Pavlovic has text on his forearm and a tiger on his ankle.

Paul Pierce

In 2010 he got his nickname, “The Truth” tattooed on his forearm, garnished with a couple of clever references to the game: a clover for the Celtics and a pair of dice reading 3 and 4 (his jersey number is 34).

Rajon Rondo

Although it can’t be seen on the court, Rondo has the Rolls Royce logo inked on his back, a gentle reference to his initials.

Von Wafer

Has a few tattoos, including a cobweb on his elbow, representing his struggle.

Delonte West

Among his many tattoos (including a Christian religious narrative that starts on his neck and runs down his chest) is script along his ribs reads: “For those I love I sacrifice.” In an interview he elaborated, “I definitely sacrificed getting them on these ribs, I’ll tell you that.”

Players without tattoos:

Ray Allen

Avery Bradley

Jeff Green

Nenad Krstic

Troy Murphy



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.