The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

By Nicola Carey  |   06 Jan, 2022

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

Every night in the NBA, the best basketball players in the world go head-to-head in a battle for supremacy. If you've ever been to a sporting event, you know that the courts are not just places where athletes display their physical prowess; they're also places where tattoos are on display. As a hub for world-class basketball, the NBA has also become a hub for body art, showcasing some of the most up-to-date trends in the world of tattooing.

The growing popularity of tattoos in the United States has contributed to the NBA's recent cultural shift. The 1992 USA Basketball "Dream Team," which won gold at the Olympics and featured the talents of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Scottie Pippen (among others), shows few, if any, visible tattoos — let alone large pieces. It's not surprising. It was a different story, however, for the team that competed in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. NBA ink isn't just popular among the league's players and tattoo artists. That also includes the fans. It’s also a little different for NBA players to get inked than it is for the rest of us to get inked.

Herchell Carrasco

OC-based tattoo artist Herchell Carrasco is known for his work in the art of inking. Owner of Pachuco Tattoo, he has tattooed a slew of celebrities and athletes.

A decade after beginning his career in the tattoo industry, Carrasco started working with NBA players. His work on players like Kyle Kuzma, LaMelo Ball, and Brandon Ingram has made him a household name in the NBA.

Few NBA’s Player Having Inked Body

Kyle Kuzma’s Tattoos

American professional basketball player Kyle Alexander Kuzma plays for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He got his start in the game as a member of the Utah Utes before joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017. He was also named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team following his rookie season. Kyle's body is covered in a dazzling array of ink. Consider some of them he has and what they mean to him.

1. Lion And Rose Tattoo

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

The lion's face is tattooed on the NBA star's left shoulder and he has a rose tattoo on his right shoulder. Meaning: Kyle got his first tattoo of a lion when he was 18 years old. This is the sign of the athlete's zodiac sign, Leo, which has a lion as its symbol. Lion's backside is made of a basketball, which symbolizes his passion for the game.

2. A Flint Tattoo

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

The word "Flint" is tattooed in red, white, and black ink on the side of his left forearm. To honor his hometown of Flint, Michigan, Kyle got the word "Flint" tattooed on his forearm.

3. Hands Tattoo

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

Two hands in prayer with light rays emanating from them are tattooed on the player's left upper arm, just above his elbow. Ginny's initials are etched into her skin below her hands. Ginny, Kyle's grandmother, passed away while he was still in high school, so Kyle received the hands in prayer.

4. Heart Tattoo

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

He has a tattoo on the upper side of his left wrist depicting a heart encased in chains, with a flame emerging from its center. Symbolizing "God's boundless and passionate love for mankind," the heart is actually a tattoo of Jesus' Sacred Heart of Jesus. Another of Kyle's religious tattoos can be seen here.

5. Staircase Tattoo

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture
There is a staircase leading to a cloud in the background with light rays on the stomach of NBA star. On either side of the stairwell are the words "Loyalty" and "Family" Symbolically, the tattoo depicts a staircase leading to the heavens. As a devout family man who is also fiercely loyal, Kyle's core values revolve around loyalty and family.

Clarkson Tattoos

Jordan Taylor Clarkson is a professional basketball player who is half-Filipino and half-American. He currently plays for the Utah Jazz in the NBA. 2014 NBA Draft: Washington Wizards picked him up in second round. For the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, he has also appeared.

Jordan's body is covered in some incredible tattoos. Aside from that, he's a sucker for body art. The first time he had a tattoo, he decided that he wanted to get more. All I did this summer was play hula hoop, get tattooed, and then hoop some more." Let's take a brief look on some tattoos, what they are and how they're used in the context of our conversation.

6. Portrait Tattoo

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

He has a baby's portrait on the left front of his shoulder. Also, he has a tattoo of Nipsey Hussle inked on the back of his left shoulder, with the letters TMC below it. The baby's face tattoo on his shoulder is a tribute to his beloved daughter Callie Clarkson. Nipsey Hussle is a favourite rapper of his, so he inked a portrait of him on his body. As you'll see in a moment, he has numerous other portraits of loved ones inked on his body.

7. Tattoo Of Superman And Aces

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

Tattoo of a child's face and body in a superman suit is on the athlete's left upper arm. A pair of dice and two aces are also tattooed on the body. The dice and aces tattoo on his arm symbolizes good fortune. The boy in the Superman costume has a tattoo of himself as a child on his forearm.

8. Tattoo Of Trophy

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

He has a globe tattoo on the back of his left upper arm, just like the one on the NBA trophy.

9. Tattoo Of Cherubs

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

Inked on his left elbow are two cherubs. The praying hands and cherubs on his left forearm are a perfect match. The cherub tattoo on his arm is a representation of his faith and serves as a protective shield.

10. Tattoo Of Horse

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

On Jordan's right shoulder, there's a tattoo of a horse's face. The horse tattoo on his forearm symbolizes freedom and power.


Ingram Tattoos

Ingram, the NBA's second-youngest player at 6.9 feet, is a nightmare for opposing players and an asset to his own team. He was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2016 NBA draught. As one of the NBA's most inked players, he began getting ink at the age of 15. Let's take a brief look at the significance of his some tattoos.

11. Joann And Donald

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

The names of Ingram's parents are tattooed on his shoulders. Donald and Joann are the names of his father and mother, respectively.

12. Hands In Prayer

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

Prayer hands and a quote

Angels, I Love You And Your Memories Will Live On In My Heart Forever.

Ingram has a tattoo of Praying hands on his right shoulder, which signifies An inscribed phrase, "Dear Angels, Your Memories Are Always In My Heart," can be found next to the cupped hands. To honor all of his departed loved ones, he had this tattoo inked. A lifelong artist, Ingram drew the design for this tattoo on his own body.

13. BXI

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

Ingram's left forearm bears the initials BXI. Brandon Xavier Ingram goes by these initials.

14. Suffering Is Worse Than The Fear Of Suffering

The NBA’s Influencing NBA Player Tattoos Culture

"The Fear of Suffering Is Far Worse than the Suffering itself" was tattooed on the back of Ingram's upper left arm. The inspiration for this quote comes from his great aunt Leatha Smith. The reason he's here is because of her.

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