The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one professional sports league with heavy tattoo coverage. Nearly 30% of NBA players have at least one tattoo, compared to approximately 4% percent of the total U.S. population.
This statistic may be because NBA players operate under a spotlight, and in a uniform, that allow them to expose their tattooed skin. Many other professional sports, such as golf and baseball, don’t offer this extreme freedom of ink expression. But if you’ve watched ESPN as of late, athletes of all sorts don’t seem to care what the rules are.
Here are the top twenty professional athletes with tattoos – 30% from the NBA.
Mike Tyson will always be considered crazy. This is fair, and if you are in a position like Tyson, it is completely reasonable to get a tattoo on your face. With or with out the tribal image around his eye, I would never let him spend time with my kids.
Shaq has super talent and a super ego. He thinks he is superman and he has never been in a room with somebody who thought they could tell him different. His Superman tattoo is a clear representation of what he feels for himself.
There has never been a player in the NBA like Dennis Rodman. He was never a basketball player that needed to have tattoos to prove he was tough. He just always seemed to really like getting ink, and then dressing up like a woman.
Most causal NBA fans blame Allen Iverson for ruining the NBA. He made cornrows, headbands, and thuggish tattoos popular in a league that was searching for a replacement for the iconic Michael Jordan.
Kobe Bryant cheated on his wife and got her name tattooed on his upper arm. I guess buying her a four million dollar ring wasn’t enough.
Natasha Kai is fearless on the field and apparently doesn’t mind getting tatted up, either. Her shoulder and upper arm tattoo makes me believe that she could kill me with her bare hands if she wanted to and that will always be kind of hot.
Rasheed has an interesting sun tattoo on his arm. The sun’s rays beam down onto people who appear to be dancing in the form of spears. Wallace is freakishly talented for his size and he believes that NBA players are basically slaves. That doesn’t make much sense and neither does his tattoo.
Franziska Van Almsick
Model/Olympic swimmer Franziska Van Almsick is trying to market herself in the same way that Anna Kornakova did. Well, her shoulder tattoo is more like something Pink would have.
David Beckham is one of the highest paid athletes in the world, married to a spice girl, and could probably wash his own soccer jersey on his abs. Is it safe to say that his “Romeo” tattoo is a little bit much? If it wasn’t for his son, we’d have to question this tat.
Stephon Marbury actually ruined the NBA. He wishes he was Allen Iverson, but he is just Steve Francis with a bit more passing skills. His tattoos are predictable and only there because he is the NBA.
Hughes has tears tattooed under his left eye. He made the decision to get them after he lost his brother in a car accident.
If you are in the NBA and you play online poker at halftime, flip a coin to decide what team you are going sign with, and spend ten million dollars on a shark tank for your mansion, the tiger tattoo on your stomach probably means something. I guess you have to go read Gilbert’s blog.
Giambi did steroids and only half apologized for it to his fans. His arm tattoos are usually covered in his Yankee uniform, but they are evidence of his macho persona that was aided by illegal drugs.
Did you know Marquis Daniels was from Florida?
Right J.R. Smith is on the Denver Nuggets with fellow tattoo enthusiast Allen Iverson. Smith’s game is very similar to Iverson’s, but the extent of his tattoos far exceeds AI’s.
If your nickname is “Lights Out” it makes sense to get a tattoo of turned off light switch, right?
Prince Fielder is the son of the Cecil Fielder, an almost great power hitter from the ’90s. His neck tattoo spells “Prince” in Japanese. It might as well say “I hate my dad” because Prince has publicly blamed his father for ruining the marriage with his mother with his blatent infidelity.
Before you get drafted into the NFL, the most important stat that people look at is your 40 yard dash time. Chris Johnson is proud of his time and has decided to place it on his calf muscles just in case you were wondering what it was.
Jeremy Shockey is almost a Superbowl champion. He was on the New York Giants last year, but he was hurt for most of the year. He opted to watch the big game from a booth instead of on the field. His tattoos are a clear example of his overt me-first personality that turns everyone off.
MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. Jeff Monson is right in the middle of it and he, like most fighters, has tattoos all over his body because he spends most of his professional life shirtless, sweaty, and bleeding.
Contrary to what most of think, professional athletes are people too. They need attention and, for the successful ones, they generally get more than they can stand. Most pro leagues would rather not have tattoos on their product, but there really isn’t anyway to stop it. Besides, they let us learn more about the people in the world that we love to watch compete.
Tattoos also stand out in the music industry. From Lil Wayne to The Game, check out the most meaningful tattoos in hip-hop.