Tattoo percentage: 67% (10 players with tattoos, 5 without)
Orlando’s tattoo percentage is basically the same as it was last year. And as of right now, their win percentage is about the same as it was last year (.625 this year vs. .634 last year). Weird, right?
Players with tattoos:
While still in college, Clark was the feature of a profile on the IMG Basketball Academy website that discussed the tattoo on his hand: “Me and my best friend from Jersey came up with BFAM (point to a tattoo on his hand). It means Brother From Another Mother. I heard about some NBA players with BFAM, and I’ve seen some people with it on their hat, but we were talking about this since we were young. All of my friends from the neighborhood who grew up together, we’ve all got the tattoo. We’re like brothers, and it’s just a sign of loyalty.”
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.
Liggins wears jersey #34 in tribute to his older brother, Maurice Davis, who was shot and killed outside of his high school at the age of eighteen (Liggins was 14 at the time). Davis was a promising high school player, and his death inspired Liggins’s game, as quoted in a 2011 profile: “When he died, I felt like I had to carry on his dream. This is what he wanted to do. I’m living his dream for him. Hopefully I’m making him proud.” Liggins also wears a portrait of his brother on his right arm, one of many tattoos that earned him a shout out on Bleed Blue Tattoo.
A 2010 profile in the Phoenix New Times reported that Richardson has 26 tattoos, including his nickname (THA FACTOR), a grim reaper, the names of his family members, and a figure holding a basketball. According to an earlier Phoenix New Times article, none of these designs were chosen lightly, as explained by Richardson: “I don’t get tattooed unless I’m 100 percent sure.”
A 2010 report by the Orlando Sentinel got deep into the tragedy in Richardson’s life, his mother’s death from breast cancer and the shooting deaths of two of his three brothers (one of whom is memorialized in tattoo on Richardson’s forearm). The accompanying photo slideshow illustrates his “life’s storyboard [as] seen through his tattoos.” I love that he’s smiling and laughing in every picture, contradicting the heartbreak of the text. Unrelated bonus fact: when Richardson and Brandy were dating in 2004, she had his portrait tattooed on her shoulder, but has since had it covered up with a butterfly.
Wafer has several tattoos, including a cobweb on his right elbow. Traditionally, cobweb tattoos indicate time spent in prison, although recently the design has also come to represent struggle in a more general sense.
Players without tattoos:
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:
Arroyo’s sole tattoo is his daughter’s name on his left forearm.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
One of the rare tattooed Euro players in the league, Pavlovic has text on his forearm and a tiger on his ankle.
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).
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.
Has a few tattoos, including a cobweb on his elbow, representing his struggle.
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:
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.