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Unfortunate NBA tattoos and then men who sport them

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A mistaken set of bruises led me to question the art of body ink.

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

During the Spurs final scrimmage game, I saw T.J. McConnell driving to the basket and I had to ask myself, “what did he get tattooed on his left shoulder?”

At first I thought it was a pattern like a leopard, or a cheetah, or a jaguar. I mean, it wouldn’t be the strangest choice of body ink.

And then a moment later, I noticed that Doug McDermott had the same relative pattern.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for team camaraderie, but matching ink blot tattoos?

Then Bill Land mentioned that the Pacers players had been involved in cupping, a form of alternative medicine where special cups are placed on the skin for a few minutes to create suction. The suction leaves the circular patters both McConnell and McDermott were sporting.

Although I was relieved the markings were not the result of a night of heavy drinking, there was truth to the reality that if they were indeed tattoos, they wouldn’t be the worst tat seen on the NBA hardwood.

It did prompt the question- who has the most unfortunate tattoos in the NBA?

There was a time when the NBA required a college degree and clear skin to be a member of its league. But since the emergence of Dennis Rodman, the issue of tattoos has gone by the wayside.

Basketball superstars are human, just like everybody else. Kevin Durant famously comes to mind for a misspelled tattoo. Some homegrown tattoos were (hopefully) inked before these players had a salary, because they look like they were inked on a beach by the King of Staten Island.

New Jersey Nets v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Richard “the” Jefferson’s “RJ” looks like it was scribbled during sophomore homeroom and inked during lunch.

Washington Wizards v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Similarly, Marcin Gortat’s homage to Air Jordan may have been acquired by an underground tattoo parlor by an unlicensed artist.

2003 NBA All Star - Atlanta

Caron Butler’s original design, a skeletal grim reaper of sorts must have been causing an uproar at church, so he took a page out of a Rorschach test as a cover up.

Washington Wizards v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/Getty Images

Speaking of cover ups . . .

Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets, Game 1 Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Notice Kenyon Martin had his girlfriend’s lips permanently emblazoned on his neck? Those were there for a while, but after the break-up . . .

BKN-KNICKS-PACERS Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

He added some design to turn it into a crown of sorts.

The lips/crown may be an acceptable transition, but Kenyon’s left arm begs the question, “Should you get a tattoo of a baby?”

I’m talking to you, Wilson Chandler.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets

Chandler has an image of his daughter creeping out of his jersey. I’m sure she’ll be excited when her prom date meets dad some day.

And then, of course, there’s Chris Anderson.

BIG3 - Week Two - Philadelphia Photo by Rob Carr/BIG3/Getty Images

I mean, come on.

Birdman is the exception to the rule that tattoos can be stylish and fashionable in the NBA. If this guy hadn’t made $16M over his career, he’d be the easiest identifiable perp to hold up a convenience store.

You would think the tattoos of the players of yesteryear would encourage today’s youth to think before they ink, or at least make an honest investment of it. But not every player is sure they will make the dollars that an NBA player can earn, so you end up with.

San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

What started as a lone alien head turned into a quick sleeve as soon as the ink dried on Murray’s contract. The knuckles to shoulder approach does avert the eyes from the extra terrestrial, but does not completely eliminate it.

No one currently playing has as many seemingly irrelevant tattoos as Willie Cauley-Stein who has gone the extra mile to get inked on his face.

Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

There is good and bad ink everywhere, and tattooing is obviously a trend that is not going anywhere for a while.

So it’s here for you to ponder, Pounders- which NBA players have the best and worst tattoos?


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