The Meanings Behind The 12 Coolest Tattoos In The NBA
I woke up this morning to some upsetting news.
As I was perusing through the day's headlines, I noticed that the maker of the NBA 2K series was getting sued for more than a million dollars over the licenses to various tattoos on various NBA superstars' bodies.
If you're unfamiliar with the NBA 2K video game series (which would be a travesty), their attention to detail is impeccable. I mean, consider this: The NBA has over 300 players in the league, and all of these players -- and all of their tattoos -- are included in the video game.
So, when considering the large scale amount of tattoos in each year's installment of the game, it's actually quite shocking that this type of lawsuit didn't arise earlier on.
But, anyway, after stumbling across that headline, it really got me to thinking. After my initial reaction of “Bahh, what a bunch of greedy people looking to take down a video game because of something as trivial as tattoos,” I began to empathize.
It dawned on me that tattoos are more than merely trivial things. For people with tattoos, these bits of ink typically stand for things much deeper than what shows on the surface. And for people who create or design them, each tattoo is a piece of art.
In response, I decided to go ahead and compile a list of what I thought were some of the coolest -- and most meaningful -- tattoos in the NBA. And if you have NBA 2K16, you can also check out their virtual depictions.
The majority of them are legally represented, at any rate.
1. Jeremy Lamb: “Dagger”
Jeremy Lamb, shooting guard for the Charlotte Hornets, has two tattoos. On his left hand, he has a bucket, signifying, well, BUCKETS, which is also slang for when someone is making a lot of baskets.
And on his right hand -- his shooting hand -- there's a dagger, for any clutch shots he puts up late in games, which makes sense as the Hornets often look to him to make it happen in high-pressure situations.
2. Stephen Curry: “Ayesha”
This one's for the ladies. Steph Curry has an “A” tattoo, which stands for Ayesha, his wife's name.
If you aren't "awww"ing yet, Curry has this tattooed on his left ring finger -- in lieu of a wedding band while he plays -- because the league doesn't allow the players to wear rings on the court. A classy gesture from a classy dude.
3. Carmelo Anthony: “West Baltimore"
The “WB” tattoo on Melo's left shoulder doesn't stand for the Warner Brothers logo, as it may appear to at first glance. The “WB” actually stands for West Baltimore, where Anthony grew up and learned how to play ball.
Sorry "Space Jam" lovers, this isn't a tribute to your favorite childhood movie, although that'd be dope, too.
4. Kyrie Irving: “F.R.I.E.N.D.S.”
I remember during last year's NBA Finals -- which was one of the more intriguing storylines in recent years -- there was one press conference featuring Kyrie Irving that exposed a separate, equally interesting, phenomenon: the “F.R.I.E.N.D.S.” inspired tattoo on his forearm.
Is it a tribute to his boys growing up? Does it stand for something? Is it the first names of all his friends or his family?
When asked about what the tattoo means, his answer was pretty straight forward: He's a fan of the show. Aren't we all...
5. DeAndre Jordan: “H-Town”
DeAndre Jordan -- Texas A&M alum and Houston product -- pays homage to his ends with a large H-Town inspired piece of ink on his right shoulder.
The tattoo, which looks like the old Astro's throwback logo -- and is now their current one, once again -- is a nice tribute to the city he's from.
6. Damian Lillard: “Psalm 37”
While many players have lines from the Bible tattooed on their body, Damian Lillard certainly didn't half-ass his -- inking an entire passage of the holy book on his left arm.
The scripture, formally known as Psalm 37, “urges believers to pay no mind to 'evildoers' and encourages them to 'cultivate faithfulness' and the 'desires of your heart' will come to fruition,” as described by Hooped Up.
7. Matt Barnes: “2Pac”
In a video on Bleacher Report, Barnes explains all of his tattoos. Of all his tattoos, my favorite one might be the one found on his left arm -- which might appear to be just a skeleton, to the naked eye.
However, upon closer inspection, it's actually a depiction of a skeleton-2Pac wearing a red flag tied around his head and a pinky ring on his hand, fingers crossed for the "Westside," aka the West Coast on which he was brought up.
8. Monta Ellis: “Family Tree”
Que basura de tattoo "@demas6Basket: Los increíbles tatuajes de Monta Ellis pic.twitter.com/Z8flhbzdGG" — wilkin jimenez (@suldito1) April 14, 2015
In the case of Monta Ellis, his tattooes are more than just pieces of ink: They reveal a much more intimate look into his family tree.
Literally speaking. On Ellis' chest, he has a large ink mural, which he has dedicated to various members of his family.
9. Steven Adams: “Funaki”
In one press conference Adams was asked about what his tattoo “Funaki” meant. He explained that it was his middle name.
Over time, however, Adams continued to add tribal designs around the tattoo. Adams later explained that in New Zealand, people get unique tattoos that relate to family specific traditions and values.
10. Tyson Chandler: “Kid wearing a crown”
Tyson Chandler's tattoo. His son. Su hijo #tatoo #nba pic.twitter.com/uAdT5VSWwY — NBA Game Time (@NBAaquiYahora) May 11, 2015
Chandler has a tattoo of a small child wearing a crown, which is one of the more intricately designed tattoos on this list.
On Twitter, Chandler explained that the tattoo is actually of his son -- making it a really special and artistic tribute to his child.
11. Trey Burke: “Michigan”
Trey Burke understands the importance of all his tattoos, but there's one of them I find particularly poignant -- the tattoo of the M on his arm that pays homage to his alma matter of Michigan.
Below it, he keeps a Columbus tattoo to signify his roots in Ohio. Burke makes sure he doesn't lose sight of where he came from, and the ink on his body proves it.
12. David West: “Xavier”
Looking at D-West's shoulder, you're sure to notice the large X tattoo. Keeping in the same vein as some guys earlier on this list, West's X tattoo relates to his time spent at Xavier University, aka his roots, which West attributes to being a very large part of who he is.
On the sides of the X, West has “My life, My way” tattooed. It's one of my favorites in the league for its significance and simplicity.