Most tattooed NBA players includes Kyle Kuzma, Ben Mclemore and Chris Andersen. Almost every basketball player has ink that allows them to tell their stories.
Similarly, it has become a new fad in recent years, and basketball players tend to utilize their bodies as a canvas for bright and eye-catching self-expression, such as arm sleeves, cartoon figures, bizarre masks, Chinese emblems, motivational phrases, tribal ink, nicknames, pictures, or tattoos that convey personal tales.
Numerous NBA stars have shared the reasons and tales behind the unusual and epic ink that they have sought on many parts of their bodies when being interviewed.
Whether the tattoo has a purpose or not, it changes the overall appearance of a player. In this piece, we've featured the ten most tattooed NBA players, along with their photographs and the significance behind their ink.
10. Kent Bazemore
Kent Bazemore's tattoo odyssey began in 2008 while he was a student at Old Dominion University. Whiz Khalifa, an up-and-coming rapper who is now one of the genre's most prominent musicians, influenced him as a freshman.
The multi-time Grammy nominee is known for both his successful songs and his extensively tatted skin. Bazemore cited Khalifa as the reason for his body art, claiming to have received a slew of them shortly after turning 18.
If you look closely at his right arm, you'll discover three separate tattoos: the serenity prayer, the North Carolina flag, and Atlas clutching the earth. Also, when Bazemore raises his arms, sculpted wings are visible inside each of his biceps, symbolizing freedom.
According to The Athletic, Bazemore hasn't attained an ink since 2012 and, to some extent, hopes he could pull a Marty McFly and keep himself from ever entering a parlor to confront the pen and ink.
9. Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman is also known for his astonishing tattoos, including giant bulls, tribal inks, and a woman devouring her privates, as per The Sun.
Rodman has the battling creatures on either side of his chest, hissing at each other as they approach face-to-face. They also signify the former power forward's style of play: aggressive, belligerent, and fearless.
Many of Rodman's inks have a tribal feel to them. Especially when you glance at his belly, which is covered with various tats and motifs. There is also a cross with stars that surrounds his belly button.
On his arms, he also has an enormous sun with a shark bursting through the center, a red dice, another tribal pattern, and a motorbike on his left. Another little cross, big squid, and a fetching she-devil with a pitchfork may all be found on his right arm.
Rodman continued to his hands, which were covered with little tats, with not many sections of his body remaining to ink. There are other dice, which can be explained by his passion for playing Craps in Las Vegas.
8. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson's first tattoo was to honor his alma mater, the Georgetown Bulldogs, with a Bulldog inked on himself.
Additionally, the words "Only the Strong Survive," along with a cross of daggers, are inked on Iverson's left shoulder to signify his challenges growing up in the NBA.
Conversely, the words "Hold My Own" are inscribed on his right shoulder. This body art describes his life philosophy, objectives, and underlying convictions.
The tat on Allen's left arm also says "Fear No One," while his left side says "RA Boogie" in remembrance of his boyhood buddy Rashaan, who was slain. Additionally, a spiderweb with the word "Virginia Slim" is inscribed on the left side of his neck.
Iverson inscribed his mother's and grandmother's initials on his chest by the praying hand's tat. Between "Hold My Own" and the black panther on his right bicep is a tatted picture of a skull with the word "Soldier" inscribed beneath it.
7. Wilson Chandler
Wilson Chandler has tattoos all over his body, including his chest, arm, hands, neck, knuckles, and fingers, as well as one over his left brow. He estimates that he has between 70 and 80.
The swingman considers himself an introvert and expresses his passions via tats. Chandler, a native of Michigan, opted to get his first ones when he was 16. It was a cross with a basketball inside that was put on his right shoulder.
Chandler's most prominent body art is the Marvel Comics character Juggernaut on his back, with the phrase "Unstoppable" above it, and a depiction of the late rapper Eazy-E on the front of his left shoulder, alongside the initials "N.W.A," Eazy's old rap group.
As per The Athletic, he has He-Man within his right bicep since he enjoyed the show and owned the action figurines.
While inside his left bicep, he inscribed Slow Bucks, which he got in 2011. Chandler said to the Denver Stiffs that he had it engraved since he does business with two of his closest pals.
There is a slew of additional cartoon characters on Chandler's lower thigh, including Homer Simpson, Johnny Bravo from Cartoon Network, Quagmire and Peter Griffin from Family Guy, and many more.
6. J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith has tattoos covering the majority of his body, many of which have personal value to him. He has about seventy of them on his body.
During an interview, Smith revealed his incredible collection to Todd Heisler of The New York Times.
He received his first one, an image of himself dunking when he was 15 years old; his sister also has one. Similarly, he has tattooed his mother's face on the right side of his chest with the slogan "mama's son" and a picture of Jesus on the left side.
Smith says the "Through the Fire" on his right arm represents having "gone through hell." He has also claimed to have visited over a thousand parlors and never knows what he will get until he arrives there.
However, the inks in his body accentuate minor characteristics with hidden meanings. He has logos of stars, dollars, crosses, and diamonds behind his ears. SWISH is also evident beneath his chin, inscribed in block script with a blue and yellow color fusion.
There is also the sign YN "Young Money" and My Time To Shine around his neck. He has carved Michael Jordan's distinct posture with his red 23-number jersey around his abdomen.
His familial ties are also reinforced in his inks, which include two childhood faces of his brothers, Chris and Dimitrius Smith, and a crucifixion board of Jesus Christ with the words Smith family.
5. Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis has a large tree tattooed on his chest, along with the slogan "Family First," which makes it clear that this is a tribute to Monta's lineage tree.
Everything is depicted in this art: roots, bark, branches, and leaves, decorated with Chinese calligraphy, an angel, and a baby's face, as per SB Nation.
Likewise, Ellis has a tat depicting flames, a demon playing the flute, and a huge "BOYZ" in ancient English writing on his right arm. He also has the capital letters "GEORGETOWN" etched on his right arm.
Further, Ellis has the Golden State Warriors logo, a dove, the number 72, a diamond, his initials, a box, and a palm, all written in cursive on his back. Well, this body art is a tribute to the Golden State Warriors, with whom he spent his first six NBA seasons.
4. Chris Andersen
Every NBA player has tattoos on their body, and each one has a story to tell. Chris Andersen, the son of Linda Holubec and a native of small Iola, Texas, has tattoos that chronicle his tale.
His mother, Holubec, had flowers, vines, and butterflies tattooed on her ankles, legs, and back when Andersen was in high school in the late 1990s, as per Fox Sports.
Similarly, Andersen has Chinese symbols tatted on the insides of his forearms. The one on the left represents "good," while the one on the right represents "evil."
Andersen's collection has grown rapidly since then. It's grown to the point that his usual tattoo artist, Denver-based John Slaughter, believes he has them on 75 percent of his body.
Andersen got two more in Bryan, Texas, just down the road from Iola, after getting his first two in Albuquerque. He had a basketball player hanging from a rim tattooed on his left arm and a bulldog with the slogan "Good Old Boys" on his chest.
The bodyart is on the back of his head and features two (quite frightening) skulls and the slogan "Give Me War." Andersen has vibrantly colored phoenix wings on the interior of each of his arms. This body ink has special value for him because it was placed during his drug prohibition.
Similarly, "Dead End" is written in bold black in between the phoenix wings and the red dice, and "Free Bird" is inked over his neck in vivid yellow letters with colorful flames.
On the back of his head are two sinister-looking skulls. Thus, his mohawk haircut is flanked by the words "Give Me War." The words "Forever Nightmare" are etched stylishly on the back of his neck.
More than half of his body is covered with tats that may cost a fortune, yet NBA star Andersen tells TMZ Sports that he hasn't spent a dime for any of his artwork.
According to TMZ, tattoo artists adore having their work exposed on a 6'10" 245-pound canvas that is seen by millions of people every week.
3. Jordan Clarkson
Jordan Clarkson has a reserved personality, but the former Cleveland Cavaliers player has used his tattoos to convey his narrative.
The 30-year-old went from having none to painting the blank canvas of his body with tributes to individuals who mean the most to him.
Clarkson has always wanted to be inked; he was only waiting for the appropriate time since he knew exactly what he wanted tattooed and where he wanted it to be placed.
His upper torso is now practically covered in art honoring his parents, his daughter, and a close childhood friend who passed away.
His tatts serve as a continual reminder of the individuals who have supported him throughout his life—not just throughout his basketball career but also in his growth as a man.
Clarkson also continues to add artwork to his body, and in 2021, he flexed his new ink on his Instagram page, carved by artist Steve Wiebe. The Utah Jazz guard has a tat that says "Love" under his left eye and another with three skulls on his neck and jawline.
The athlete's left upper arm is painted with a child's face, a miniature body donning the Superman outfit, and two aces next to a pair of dice, which represents good luck. His left forearm has a scroll with a large text inscribed on it, and his left elbow has a dove bird.
Meanwhile, the top half of his left forearm features a set of hands united in prayer, the words "ROMANS 8:18" written near his wrist, and the entire area is encircled by clouds.
Jordan's right shoulder is also etched with a horse's face, which signifies freedom and power. Near his right elbow, he has an ink of an automobile and two skulls on his upper right arm.
An additional face has been etched on the back of his right upper arm with the phrase "In Loving Memory," and the dates of birth and burial are inked below it.
The player's right bicep is emblazoned with the visage of Heath Ledger's Joker and an open mouth with its tongue protruding just below Joker's face. The inside of his right forearm is an angel, a teddy bear, a few phrases, and the roman digits "X.XV."
The top portion of his right forearm features a cartoon bulldog, while the lower part of his sleeve features a graphic of a brick wall, a phrase, and a skull and crossbones. The player's right lower thigh is adorned with pictures of several NBA players.
2. Ben Mclemore
Ben Mclemore was born in St.Louis Missouri, and he and his close-knit family have fought through poverty his entire childhood.
And the NBA player claims it is simpler to express his experience in ink than words. Ben resorted to basketball while dealing with his elder brother's jail and sometimes enduring nights without power and warm water.
The shooting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers has various inks on his body that serves as mementos of his life path. However, the NBA has published a piece in which he discusses his body art and the stories that prompted him to be inked.
The first body art he ever got was of his family name on his back; he got it because he is proud of and adores his family.
Similarly, his tat of "Forever in my heart" around his chest represents his love for his grandparents, all of whom have passed away. Furthermore, the Blood, Sweat, and Tears desired in his arm reflect the sacrifices made by his older brother for the family.
As per Athletes Quarterly, the no. 23 has communicated his tale through body art in several ways, including phrases, symbolic imagery, and even foreign languages that span the length of both arms and his entire chest and back.
Furthermore, the letters behind his neck in Arabic signify Humble and Hungry, implying that he must stay humble since he knows where he came from and be hungry to succeed.
1. Kyle Kuzma
Kyle Alexander Kuzma is a skilled NBA star off the court who often makes waves with his social media posts. His Instagram page is loaded with images of his toned figure and full-arm tattoos.
He got the first one at the age of 18—a lion's head inked on his left shoulder. Kyle also has a Bible verse engraved on his left forearm. It comes from Proverbs 16:20.
Likewise, after the tragic demise of late rapper Nipsey Hussle, he inked a striped flag with the letter TMC, which stands for one of Nipsey's quotes, The Marathon Continues.
An artwork depicting two hands united in prayer with light rays emanating from them and the name "Ginny" below it can be found on the left upper arm. Furthermore, in 2021, the Utah star honored the state where he played college basketball with a huge back tattoo.
An artist named Herchell Carrasco shared a photo of Kuzma with a massive mountain range that spanned from shoulder to shoulder on his Instagram page.
Though it isn't a representation of any of Utah's various mountain ranges, it does incorporate many peaks divided by a running river, representing the state's natural environment.
On the inside side of his left forearm, there is an eye, a sword, and rays shooting from the eyes right below a biblical scripture. A large snake hisses and fangs out, a gorilla thumps its chest, and the phrase "humble beast" is etched on the inner side of his right forearm, just below the elbow.
While his upper right forearm is covered with an artwork of a cartoonish elderly man with a huge mustache clutching a bag of money with a turban over his head. It is surrounded by multiple billboards, road signs, logos, and scenery, including the Ford emblem, a giant letter M, and a young infant playing the harp on his elbow.
There is barely enough space to cover his body. The athlete's right shoulder is covered with a rose, and Joe is inscribed on the backside of his arm underneath the flower.
His stomach has a stairway rising upwards to a cloud with a beam of light in the center, and the site has the phrases "loyalty" and "family."
On the right side of his torso is a biblical scripture from Matthew 7:13 that says, "Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide, and the path that leads to disaster is broad, and many people enter through it."
Moreover, there are several minor artworks etched on his body, and each ink has its significance and worth concealed inside it. The word Kuzmania inscribed on his right shoulder emphasizes his apparel brand name. The left shoulder includes "Be Different" and "100 Streaks" emoji tats.