Why Do NBA Players Have Tattoos? (True Reasons)

Tattoos in the NBA seem to be common now.

But why exactly do NBA players have tattoos?

NBA players usually have tattoos to show off, because it’s allowed, to appear more stylish and intimidating and because of culture. Most NBA players who have tattoos appear to be Black Americans.

So, why exactly are there many NBA players with tattoos? Let’s find out.

Why do NBA Players Have Tattoos?

Photo by All-Pro Reels

We see a lot of NBA players sporting tattoos all over their bodies nowadays. But why exactly do players do this?

You may have asked this question at least once when watching an NBA game. There are many reasons why they do this.

We’ve compiled the most common reasons.

1. To show off

A lot of NBA players especially young ones like to show off. They have tattoos to show off their wealth, and personality and to show that they’re not afraid of pain.

Having tattoos lets you flaunt whatever you want such as your religious beliefs, family, and your most inner desires.

Some players have a tattoo of the names of their family others prefer the usual flames.

2. Because it’s not against the rules

There’s no rule in the NBA that explicitly bans tattoos. This is true for a lot of sports not just in basketball.

Since they don’t actually do anything other than decorate a player’s body, they don’t need to ban them.

3. To appear more stylish and intimidating

Tattoos are a status symbol and a cool thing to do in the NBA now. A lot of players sport them on their torso, legs, necks, and arms.

By having tattoos, they can appear more stylish and intimidating to opponents. Having no tattoos can be attributed to rookies who are only entering the league.

Based on the observation of many, the longer you stay in the league, the more tattoos you get. This is the case for Chris Andersen who began his career with barely any tattoos. But by the time he retired in 2017, he was full of tattoos.

4. Culture

A large percentage of NBA players are African Americans. And tattoos are part of their culture growing up. A lot of Black American artists, rappers, and other athletes have tattoos.

So, it makes sense that African American NBA players will also have them.

Most of them have tattoos even before entering the league.

But today, even purely white Americans and Europeans are getting tattoos since entering the league. In a way, it has become part of the culture in the NBA.

Does the NBA Allow Tattoos?

There’s no rule in the NBA that bans a player from having tattoos. Having said that, they don’t just allow any sort of tattoos to be inked on their bodies.

Although they didn’t explicitly say it, they don’t want to see tattoos that have the name, logo, mark, or other identification of any commercial brand.

Of course, players should also be careful about what types of tattoos they get. This is because there are a lot of kids watching the NBA worldwide.

NBA Players’ Strange Tattoos

Most NBA players now have at least a single tattoo on their bodies. It has become a tradition for a lot of players to sport them.

But since a lot of players have tattoos, there are also a lot of crazy things that we’ve seen over the years when it comes to their tattoos.

Photo by Erik Drost

The NBA players with the most tattoos are Dennis Rodman, Allen Iverson, Chris Andersen, Monta Ellis, and JR Smith.

Perhaps one of the craziest tattoos we’ve seen is those of Wilson Chandler. Although the tattoo itself is cute which is the portrait of his kid, it may be uncomfortable to look at for players.

It’s situated right under his neck, so it looks like it’s poking out of his jersey. Whether this is by design or not, we honestly can’t tell.  

Final Thoughts

Tattoos are just skin coverings in the end. In the NBA, players are free to express themselves through body ink. They just need to be aware of the boundaries.

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