To some people, NBA players are abnormally tall guys who get paid way too much money to put a ball through a hoop. To others, NBA players are idols. Particularly outward fans may show their fandom by wearing their favourite players’ jerseys, but the most fervent fans? They wear it permanently inked on their sleeve—often to hilarious effect. Here are some of the best and worst tattoos of NBA players.
Yes, that’s Gary Payton spanning the left side of this woman’s torso. Five points for the shading, and seven points for “The Glove’s” swaggy pose.
Photo: Charlie Villanueva/Instagram
While a highly questionable player choice, this tattoo bears an uncanny likeness to Charlie Villanueva. Bonus points for the vibrant colours.
Behold: a Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman back tat. Oddly enough, the boldest move we see here is this fan chose Rodman over Scottie Pippen. Nonetheless, the detail is magnificent.
I am… Kazaam! It turns out there is someone out there who enjoys watching Shaquille O’Neal pretend to be a genie, and enough to get him inked on his own calf. This tat is so bad it’s amazing. I imagine it’s a hit with children.
Photo: Nikko Hurtado/TattooStage.com
This is the pinnacle of NBA player tattoos. It does Magic Johnson justice, which is saying a hell of a lot. It is the spitting, er, smiling image of (the young) him. Absolutely amazing.
Photo: LeBron James/Instagram
A man walks into a juice bar and.. meets his idol? Last week a fan went to the Juice Spot in Miami, which happens to be owned by LeBron James and his wife. He purchased some juice and flashed Mr. James his back, which features an impressive illustration of the player doing his pre-game chalk toss alongside one of his championship trophies and one of his MVP trophies. James posted that he “had to take a flick with him #WOW#WitnessHistory #StriveForGreatness.”
Photo: LeBron James/Instagram
LeBron James was not nearly as enthusiastic when he found out about this tattoo. A fan showed Shane Battier this leg tattoo of James’ face. “I really don’t know how I’m suppose to feel about it. Lol,” James wrote on Instagram. “Ummm I guess that’s pretty cool/creepy/awesome all the same time!” The leg hairs make James and his headband look hairy and weird, not unlike Chewbacca.
By now we know some people really like James and don’t mind lending him some permanent real estate on their bodies. Of all the cool shots of James available on the internet, this fan opted for a portrait of James wearing his All-Star warm-ups. The tat rests above the fan’s right pectoral and is surrounded by artwork presumably done by a kindergartener.
Meet pensive Kobe Bryant on a fan’s calf. He’ll forever be contemplating why his nose is off and he’s got the eye bags of a man 40 years his senior.
This is supposed to be James Harden’s face on a fan’s upper arm. James Upper Arm-den looks downright sad, and I’d hazard a guess it’s because his face is stretched across an elbow. To add insult to injury, while this Harden caricature has many enlarged facial features, his famous beard is far too small.
Photo: Stephon Marbury/Weibo
This fan has a portrait of Stephon Marbury inked on his calf. What’s most interesting about this tattoo is the timing. The fan got it done during the twilight of Marbury’s career, after he went off the rails and recorded a video of himself eating Vaseline in 2009. The only thing that makes less sense than the video and tattoo is the “love is love” quote beneath it.
Photo: Ivan Garcia/Twitter
A fan tweeted Nate Robinson a photo of his back tat. It looks like Robinson is about to dunk a football into a misshapen waffle. Another user tweeted that it appears as though Robinson is dunking a frisbee into a plant cell. Either way, this tat is terrible.
No words. Just laughter. This Tracy McGrady tattoo is as good as his response to whether he’d be ready if his number were called last season: “Is a pig’s p*ssy pork?”