Basketball tattoos really made their mark in the mid-90’s. A lot of players in the National Basketball Association started getting ink and showing it off.
What’s sort of special about basketball is the player wears a sleeveless jersey and shorts, which allows a lot of the player’s skin to show. Players started to take advantage of this opportunity and getting tattoos.
One of the first players that really made tattoos in basketball popular was none other than “The Worm” himself – Dennis Rodman.
Rodman was easily one of the greatest hustle players of all-time. Rodman was a true chairman of the boards, somebody that could snag any rebound in sight.
Rodman also made a name for himself with his on-court appearance. Rodman is always known for his crazy hair colors (which ranged from pink to lime green), but what Rodman often does not get credit for was the plethora of artwork that graced is arms and legs.
Rodman was truly the first NBA player to sport a ton of basketball tattoos.
Today, if I had to guess, I would say that at least 80% of the players in the league have at least one tattoo. If I wanted to expand on the number of players that have their arms and legs covered in tattoos, I would guess it would be in the 60% range.
The tattoos are now almost as popular as the game itself.
Allen Iverson is another innovator of the “Ink Legacy.” Iverson made a name for himself with the classic street appearance. Corn rows on the head and tattoos covering the arms and legs.
Iverson’s street mentality earned him a rep and hundreds of copycats would take notice. It is estimated that AI has at least 22 tattoos covering his body.
Some of the more well known basketball players with famous ink include:
Kenyon Martin and his red lips on the side of his neck
Chauncey Billups and the word “Smooth” on his bicep
Stephon Marbury and his forearm tattoo
Cherokee Parks and his wild assortment of tattoos
Chris “Birdman” Anderson and his plethora of colorful tats
Rasheed Wallace and his Aztec sun tattoo
Jason Williams and his collection
Shaq and the famous “Superman” tattoo
Have a serious game and want some ink to go along with it? Basketball tattoos are a great way of individual expression. It used to be the only way you got noticed as an individual on the court was with your basketball sneakers.
Now players can stand out in a variety of ways, including their socks, headbands, armbands, or shoes. Still I think my favorite and the most popular form of individual expression in basketball is tattoos.
Tattoos are expensive though, and you’ll need a parent to sign off for you if you are under the age of 18.
Remember also that tattoos are permanent, and no matter how much you like them now – you may not like them in fifty years. Also, some employers have been known to say they didn’t hire a particular individual because of the body art they could see.
So if you want to get a tattoo, at least get the first one in a place where you can cover it up from a job interview.