Dennis Rodman Tattoo

It wasn’t that long ago when tattoos in the NBA were somewhat frowned upon. The league had wishes of clean-cut boys playing for the hoops, and, while it wasn’t exactly ‘illegal’ in terms of NBA policies, it just wasn’t done.

The NBA is a different league today. Now, more than 75% of NBA players have one form of tattoo or another. And many, have lots, in fact, it seems from one season to the next, players are becoming more and more marked up. To provide a litany of every tattoo in the NBA today would take a series of hundreds of articles, that’s just how many there are. It seems almost that tattoos are the thing to do.

So what’s brought on this change? Players like Dennis Rodman for example have become inspiration to other players that, hey, it’s okay to stand up for your own individuality. While Dennis Rodman has certainly lead by example, it was however Allen Iverson in 1996 that swung the pendulum in terms of the acceptance of tattoos. Iverson’s fame seemed to parallel his tattoo collection. As the tattoo collection soared, so did his fame. And he has everything from the motto you see here, to Mighty Mouse, to a dollar sign labeled ‘Money Bagz’ emblazoned on his body.

Iverson is idolized in the league with a tremendous following, and his tattoos have become trends in themselves. Other players were quick to follow this trend, seeing how fame was related to the tattoo trend. Now, in the NBA, it’s not as much about fame, but a means of expressing one’s individuality as a player. The players that don’t have tattoos, seem to be the minority group.

Many players have Bible verses, or insipirational quotes on their body art. Shaquille O’Neal is best known for his Superman “S” on his biceps, and Kobe Bryant has one of his wife and daughter on his left arm.

Other tattoos are incredibly personal. Turiaf pays tributes to his family in body art, and Lamar Odom of the Lakers commemorates his son who dies of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome on his chest. His mom is on his back.

Baby feet, birthdays, Flinstones, roses, basketballs, the list goes on. Tattoos are everywhere in the league. It seems that these boys aren’t just made for shootin’. They’ve got some soft spots, and a little bit of creativity in there as well.