New Jersey Nets 2011-12

Tattoo percentage: 79% (11 players with tattoos, 3 without)

Jonathan Abrams posted an account on Grantland of a week spent with the Nets at the beginning of this season. It’s kind of a heartbreaker. A big part of it is the haphazard collection of players, which is reflected in the tattoos described below. Like last year, the panthers to Simpsons-reference array is difficult to harmonize, but maybe the prevalence of basketball tattoos on the team will be the common chord. At the very least, they have a lot more tattoos than last year.

Players with tattoos:

MarShon Brooks
The winged basketball on Brooks’ left shoulder is one of my favorite designs in the league.

Jordan Farmar
Insted were a late 80s posicore band from Anaheim who formed that same year that Farmar was born just 20 miles away in Los Angeles. Farmar has a tattoo that looks suspiciously like the cover of Insted’s first LP, Bonds of Friendship, but according to an interview with Farmar, has a totally different origin: “I got it after my freshman year of college. It’s a picture drawn by my first basketball coach, he’s an artist for the Simpsons.”

Gerald Green
Green has tattoos on both arms.

Damion James
James has both arms pretty done.

Anthony Morrow
In October of 2011 Morrow posted a photo of his back piece on twitter, continuing the family theme begun on his chest.

Johan Petro
Petro has tattoos on both arms.

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.”

Gerald Wallace
I love Wallace’s tiger tattoo. It’s great that one of the most energetic and excitable players in the league has a super-calm, un-roaring, un-threatening tiger on his shoulder.

Deron Williams
Williams famously got one panther tattoo covered by a different panther tattoo. Among his many designs, including tributes to his family, to basketball, and to the state of Texas, Williams said, “It’s a way to express yourself. I probably won’t like them when I’m 90. But right now I do.”

Jordan Williams
Williams has a basketball tattooed on his right shoulder.

Shelden Williams
Williams is married to WNBA star Candace Parker. Parker has a key tattooed on her wrist, and Williams has a matching lock tattooed on his wrist.

Players without tattoos:

Sundiata Gaines
Kris Humphries
Brook Lopez

No longer on roster:

Dennis Horner: Horner has a tattoo of a flaming basketball and his jersey number. There is a facebook page dedicated to it.



New Jersey Nets, 2010-11

Tattoo percentage: 47% (7 players with tattoos, 8 without)

From panthers to blood puddles to pirates to vaguely Simpsons-related art, the Nets really showcase the diversity of tattoos present in the NBA.



Players with tattoos:

Jordan Farmar
Insted
were a late 80s posicore band from Anaheim who formed the same year that Farmar was born just 20 miles away in Los Angeles. Farmar has a tattoo that looks suspiciously like the cover of Insted’s first LP, Bonds of Friendship, but according to an interview, has a totally different origin: “I got it after my freshman year of college. It’s a picture drawn by my first basketball coach, he’s an artist for the Simpsons.”

Dan Gadzuric
Gadzuric’s mother is from Serbia, his father from Saint Vincent. Although the two countries are separated by an ocean, and have never been in direct conflict, they both have violent histories, a story told in Gadzuric’s back tattoo: “The tattoo on my back are two countries joining together with praying hands, covered with blood creating a puddle on the bottom. The two countries represent my two ethnicities.”

Damion James
Among James’ many tattoos is the classic cross/basketball design on his right shoulder.

Anthony Morrow

Morrow has full sleeves on both his arms, and a tribute to his family across his chest.

Johan Petro

Petro has tattoos on both arms.

Mario West
On West’s left shoulder is a tattoo of a pirate.

Deron Williams

Williams famously got one panther tattoo covered by a different panther tattoo. Among his many tattoos, including tributes to his family, basketball, and the state of Texas, Williams said, “It’s a way to express yourself. I probably won’t like them when I’m 90. But right now I do.”

Players without tattoos:

Sundiata Gaines

Stephen Graham 

Kris Humphries

Brook Lopez  

Travis Outlaw

Ben Uzoh 

Sasha Vujacic

Brandan Wright  



Toronto Raptors, 2010-11

Tattoo percentage: 60% (9 players with tattoos, 6 without)

The Raptors are an international team with an international roster, including players from France, Nigeria, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Lithuania. American players are far more likely to have tattoos than non-Americans, and a majority of the un-tattooed players on Toronto are from Africa and Europe. However, they do have two of the undeniably rare tattooed foreign players.



Players with tattoos:

Alexis Ajinca
Ajinca has a tattoo below his right ear that, as he explained to a reporter in 2010, is ” a symbol that means, ‘The great talent sent from God.’” Apparently it is also the logo for the TV series Heroes, a drama about mutant children.

Leandro Barbosa

Among Barbosa’s few tattoos is the text “Love, sacrifice, and union” on the back of his neck.

Jerryd Bayless

Bayless has a massive backpiece, which he describes as, “a college mistake, I regret it every day.”

Ed Davis

Davis came into the league with heavy coverage of both arms, a rarity in the 2010 rookie class.

DeMar DeRozan

Among DeRozan’s tattoos is a tribute to his grandmother, which he discussed in a 2010 profile: “[Points to his right forearm] This one right here, for my grandmother. I got it done right after last season after she passed. She meant a lot to me — it was only right that I [commemorate her] like that.”

Reggie Evans

Evans has tattoos along both arms, including his mother’s name—Janie—tattooed along his left forearm.

Amir Johnson
His tattoo buddy Sonny Weems posted a photo of Johnson in the tattoo chair on Twitter, and a few hours later posted a detail of the finished design.

James Johnson
Johnson almost sounds defensive when describing his tattoo choices: “All my tattoos mean a little something. I’m not going to put something on myself that doesn’t mean anything. I have a big family so a lot of my tattoos have to do with my family or my religious beliefs.”

Sonny Weems
Clearly a tattoo enabler, not only does Weems accompany his teammates to the tattoo shop, but he occasionally has his artist set up in his house for tattoo parties.

Players without tattoos:


Solomon Alabi

Andrea Bargnani

Jose Calderon

Joey Dorsey

Sundiata Gaines

Linas Kleiza   

Julian Wright  



NBA tattoos


2013-14 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 55%
241 players with tattoos, 201 without [details]


2013-13 NBA overall tattoo percentage: 56% [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
Pelicans - 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.