Tattoo percentage: 47% (7 players with tattoos, 8 players without)
If you look at last year’s page for the Blazers, you’ll note that this year I’m just replicating all of the text I wrote then, as opposed to other teams where I’ve tried to provide new information/research. For the Blazers I’ve decided to phone it in in an act of solidarity with the 2011-12 Blazers team.
Players with tattoos:
While it’s notable that Aldridge has the most tattoos on the Blazers, it’s more notable that every one of his tattoos carries religious significance: praying hands, crosses, the text “KEEP GOD FIRST.” When asked about his collection, Aldridge simply replied, “Because I’m a man of strong faith. Strong beliefs.”
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.
To show his love for his mother, Matthews got a tattoo that reads “Dynamic Duo” for his eighteenth birthday. For an NBA.com article titled “Wesley Matthews: A Proud Mama’s Boy,” his mother recalled, “I wouldn’t let him get a tattoo until he was of legal age. He had little skinny arms then so it wasn’t a very big tattoo.”
Nolan Smith was nine years old when his father, NBA champion Derek Smith passed away at the age of 34 from a previously undetected heart defect. A 2008 profile published by ESPN during Nolan’s freshman year at Duke described the tattoo tribute the son has for his father:
Years later, when Nolan was 16, he asked Monica if he could get a tattoo. She first refused, then changed her mind when he said he wanted one of his father.
"I said, ‘You can get that, but you have to wear it with honor and integrity,’ " Monica said. "That’s the only tattoo he’ll ever have."
The green ink on Nolan Smith’s right biceps reads “Forever watching”. Below that is 4RIP3, and a sketch of his father’s face, followed with “Derek Smith 1961-1996”.
"I have this tattoo on my arm," Nolan said, "and I remember him at all times."
Players without tattoos:
No longer on roster:
Armon Johnson: no tattoos
Greg Oden:Oden entered the league with a tribute to his deceased best friend over his heart, as described by a New York Times piece.
Mehmet Okur: no tattoos
Tattoo percentage: 35% (5 players with tattoos, 9 without)
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the handful of tattoos that grace Salt Lake City’s players revolve around Christ or Christ-like figures with basketballs: new recruit Derrick Favors has a glowing Jesus cradling a ball, while 10+ year journeyman Raja Bell has a lion standing watch over the ball. It’s also unsurprising that the Jazz have one of the lowest tattoo percentages in the league.
Players with tattoos:
For most of the decade, Bell’s right shoulder displayed a tribute to his sister’s fiance, Chris Campbell, a college linebacker who died in a car crash in 2002. The design included Campbell’s jersey number (48) and his favorite saying: “Y’all don’t see da dawg.” In recent years, this tattoo has been overcome by a larger half-sleeve design that covers it completely.
His Jesus with possession tattoo was featured in Dime Magazine’s best new ink column in 2010.
Harris has a slowly-growing design on his left bicep that seems to have a few details added each year.
Millsap has a pair of praying hands tattooed on his left arm.
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.”
Players without tattoos:
Andrei Kirilenko: Kirilenko believes that tattoos are a mistake, and is out to prove to the youth that they can be expressive in other ways, for example, his variety of hairstyles: “I’m just trying to bring a new energy to the game because basketball becomes so routine. If we are role models for young kids, it’s better to mess with your hair than tattoos, piercing, smoking or drinking. Young kids want to prove their independence. I’m here to show them it’s better to mess with your hair than anything else.”
C.J. Miles: no tattoos yet, but he’s thinking about it…
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.