Ballers and Tiaras: A two-man weave on tattoos in the Association

This week, the good, the bad and the ugly on tattoos.


Rohan Nadkarni: Dwyane Wade has no tattoos, as we immediately throw you a curveball to begin this column about tattoos. But when you have a body like Dwyane Wade’s, why touch it up with some ink? D-Wade instead spends his time out of the chair (?) and in the gym, where he’s worked himself into a two-time NBA Champion.

Gideon Resnick: D-Wade is an exception to the prevalent NBA tattoo rule. It’s refreshing to see a guy who doesn’t feel compelled to get inked up. At one point during his freshman year at Marquette, he walked into a tattoo parlor and promptly left, deciding it wasn’t for him. Wade is a stand-up guy with good morals, so I wouldn’t fault him if he decided to change his policy down the road. As long as he doesn’t get the CTA map down the small of his back, Wade’s decisions are all right by me.


GR: The NBA rivals Hell’s Angels for percentage of skin covered by tattoos. And one of the biggest contributors is the recently crowned MVP of the league, LeBron James.

Exhibit A in the trial of bad Bron tattoos is the Olympic-sized one on his rippling, massive back. Scrawled in amateurish bubble letters are the words “Chosen 1,” written in absurdly large black ink. The font looks like something Insane Clown Posse would use on their album covers. It doesn’t get the light of the day as much as the rest of his inscribed assemblage of words and pictures so it looks a little faded, long past its days of glory, like Ray Liotta playing Ray Liotta.

RN: Hey, Gideon, did people call LeBron James the chosen 1 when he was a teenager? Oh, it’s tattooed in giant letters on his back? Thanks.

This tattoo is more than a little ridiculous. It would be like if I tattooed a giant picture of Donald Faison on my back because people called me “Chocolate Bear” in high school. LeBron also has a “Prince James” tattoo on his inner left forearm. Perhaps we’ll also find LeBron romping naked in a hotel room in Vegas with Wade, naked women and a saddened Chris Bosh looking in through binoculars from an off-Strip hotel a few blocks away.


RN: Stephen Jackson has a belly tattoo of praying hands holding a gun at a grave. Unfortunately, this is, at most, only the third craziest thing Jackson has ever done, behind firing a gun at a strip club and fighting fans in the stands in one of the most infamous brawls in American sports history. Though Captain Jack’s sheer lunacy is kind of loveable, this tat is not. Ballers and Tiaras is no fan of gun violence, and I’m not entirely sure why Jackson is combining guns with obvious religious symbols. But I am entirely sure I would never argue with him about it.

GR: Tattoo small talk is something that makes me anxious, as does small talk in Great Clips and on Sheridan Road. So I can’t even conceive of what Captain Jack would be talking about with the unfortunate soul who spent hours hunched over his midriff. I’m sure the question of “why this ink?” came up and I have no doubt the answer was something like, “I’m Captain Jack, (expletive).” I hope the artist got a sizable tip for listening to this character talk about how Serge Ibaka is his version of Davy Jones.