It isn’t a secret among many that a lot of NBA players have inked their skins with tattoo art, either to express their love for something or someone, or to show off their individuality on the hard court. With numerous NBA stars jumping on the tattoo bandwagon, it would be a gargantuan task to pick the 10 best tattoo designs. But in the end, the following made it to this elite list:
10. Isaiah Thomas
Point guard Isaiah Thomas shows that there isn’t an “I” in “team” with his tattoo inked on his biceps. He may have been with the Sacramento Kings for only 2 years, but Thomas surely knows how to express his deep-seated loyalty to the team.
9. Marcin Gortat
The current generation of NBA players witnessed and idolized Michael Jordan’s supremacy on the hard court in the 80s and 90s – that some of them are now immortalizing via an MJ tattoo. One such player – Washington Wizards’ Marcin Gortat – has this iconic silhouette of “His Airness” on his leg.
8. Jameer Nelson
Jameer Nelson has been making a mark not only with the Orlando Magic but also on his back and upper arm. While his statement tattoo “Accomplish Everything Without Fear” says everything about the grit of his character, the upper arm tattoo “in loving memory” of his late grandmother also shows Jameer’s soft spot.
7. Lou Williams
This Atlanta Hawks guard truly loves the game that he etched his upper arm with a tattoo of basketball. While other players also sport a ball tattoo such as Brooklyn Nets’ Jason Terry except that his tattoo depicts a ball being dunked in a trash bin. Williams inked an American bald eagle on top of his. This shows how basketball can be like a bald eagle –swift and intimidating.
6. Monta Ellis
The Dallas Mavericks guard definitely knows how to heat up the ring through a phoenix tattoo rising above the flames. It may not be a cup of tea for some, but the fast and furious Monta Ellis is simply living up to his moniker “The Mississippi Missile.”
5. Kevin Durant
The OKC forward’s monstrous back tattoo may be well-intentioned since it features a biblical verse, from James 1: 2-4 and a Christ in passion. One major flaw, though: Kevin Durant’s Instagram users quickly noticed that the word “mature” was spelled as “mautre” on his back. Nevertheless, the painstaking and intricate work done on KD’s back deserves a place on this list.
4. LeBron James
LeBron James is a four-time MVP and an NBA champion for a reason. And for the 2013-2014 season, Betfair sports analyst Nick Shiambouros is betting on another MVP and championship ring for the “King.” He may retire from basketball, but the credos that led to his success will forever be etched on him via his tattoos. His rib cage area is inked with values like passion, fearlessness, community, loyalty and family.
3. Chris Andersen
Since his transfer to the current NBA champs, Andersen quickly gained his own following from the Miami Heat’s fans thanks to a whopping 600 brightly-colored tattoos. His tattoo artist, Denver-based John Slaughter, estimates that he has inked 75% of Birdman’s body, from his neck, arms, hands, back and legs.
2. Kenyon Martin
The New York Knicks power forward’s cross tattoo with the words “I Shall Fear No Man But God” isn’t only clean-looking and elaborate, but also characterizes in a nutshell Kenyon Martin’s playing style on the floor. Indeed, he fears no one and always gives his best on the hard court to make his fans, his team, and his family proud.
1. Wilson Chandler
Denver Nuggets fans won’t see Wilson Chandler’s back tattoo every time he plays, but his Juggernaut tattoo is really awesome. In a past interview, Chandler revealed that he chose the X-Men character not only because he loves the series but because he aspires to be a juggernaut in the NBA.