Wednesday, May 6, 2009

NBA All Non-Tattooed Team

During a recent work day, non-work related email exchange with my colleague (and former Midwesterner) A.B, I found fodder for my latest blog post.

After I had mentioned that Ron Artest was quoted making light of the infamous fight between Indiana and Detroit a few years back (A.B hails from Indy) we got to discussing why the NBA just does not have the same appeal for us that it did in the 90’s. We agreed that the “the crappy egos and one man teams” were among the reasons but there was something else that was prodding us to a mutual disgust for Naismith’s peach basket game.

“When [during the NBA All-Star Game] I saw that Chris Paul didn’t have any tats, I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was being edited. To see someone WITHOUT their baby’s face or some hands praying or some sort of Egyptian scroll on their right forearm is a complete rarity,” A.B wrote.

Being one who views tattoos as, for the most part, an act of conformity under the guise of being a non-conformist, I agreed and thought about how pervasive “body art” (a term I use loosely, much in the same way that the tags on the side of every bodega in NYC might be called art by teenage graffiti aficionados) has become in the National Basketball Association. According to a 2008 article by Jonathan Abrams in the Los Angeles Times, “A decade ago, the Associated Press reported that 35% of NBA players were tattooed. Five years later that number had doubled . . . Today, one can watch an NBA playoff game and be treated to jumpers and alley-oops and tattoos -- lots and lots of tattoos. About 75% of NBA players have them.”

So who is my All-Non Tattooed NBA team? The guys that are listed below, at least to my knowledge, have no discernable tats—I can’t speak as to what might lurk below their uniforms—and still are among the top players in the game . . .

Center- Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Power Forward- Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
Small Forward- Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
Shooting Guard- Dwayne Wade, Miami Heat
Point Guard- (the aforementioned) Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

Honorable Mention: Steve Nash, Ray Allen, David Lee, Al Thornton, Charlie Villanuev

And, the All-Bad Tattoo Team—with the MHT (most hideous tats) award going to Barnes . . .

Center- Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
Power Forward- Chris Andersen, Denver Nuggets
Small Forward- Matt Barnes, Phoenix Suns
Shooting Guard- Allen Iverson, Detroit Pistons (you cant really describe this cannon as a point guard)
Point Guard- Delonte West, Cleveland Cavaliers


  1. First off, the fact that you left Stephon "Can I have the star logo from my shoes on the side of my head" Marbury on the all-tatts squad.

    What about 'Melo and his Warner Bros. logo "West Baltimore" tattoo?

    Second, I do believe David Lee has a tattoo on his right shoulder blade. It may or may not be a chinese character -- one of the most regrettable of tattoos for a white fella.

    Throw Dirk in the mix, he's a sound 7 feet, and has a vicious stroke from almost anywhere on the court. Chris Bosh, too. Or Yao.

  2. Grazie. You are totally right about D. Lee. Good call . . .

    And Marbury, well, I barely consider him as part of the NBA any longer (He could be part of the Hall of Tattoo Shame along with Cherokee Parks, though)