It seems like the entire world is tatted up, tatted down, and tatted all around. It doesn't matter where a person comes from, where they've been, where they're going, or what they do. The world of athletes is probably more tatted than any other profession, including baristas and rock stars, and it seems every off season the parade to the parlor ramps up. Athletes proudly display their art and it's spread through the minor leagues and colleges.
Athletes and their ink ignited like wild fire since the turn of the century, when guys like Allen Iverson and Dennis Rodman graced the hard wood. Though basketball players appear too be the athletes with the most tattoos, the fad or desire has bit players from MMA, Football, Hockey, Baseball, and even the Olympics. The players come from the country, the city, Russia, the U.S, South America, and Europe. The gender of an athlete also doesn't matter, for women and men are equal in the eyes of the ink.
Many athletes use their tattoos for inspiration, remembrance, or just fun. Some include colors and others keep the ink dark. It even seems like the paintings have become a competition and atletes try to stand out and out do each other. Though many players have common designs or sayings, others have unique, creative symbols, patterns, and drawings.
There are a whole lot of people not on this list that deserve to be. But what I got here is a compilation that is completely open to debate. So check em out because these tatts are here to stay. In my eyes, these are 5 players that nailed it and 10 players who need to buy lots of "White Out."
15 Shameful: Lionel Messi
Let's just make this clear right off the bat. It may seem like I am a hater but I'm not. I like almost everyone and I'm sure the star of Barcelona is a great guy. But seriously, someone needs to set him straight. Dude, who is in your posse? Don't get tattoos of people who are alive. But if you are, and he did, pay up and get it done right. But also, why would anyone get a tatt of their lover's lips below the belt line? I get the idea and how it can sound fun in the moment, but someone has to see the possible consequences. More bad than good can come from this, and even if he couldn't fathom his life without her, he definitely won't now.
14 Shameful: Chris Andersen
This is another tough one because anyone born in the era of bubble letters and tagging has got to respect the art work. Dunking bulldogs, soaring eagles, and fire and feathers done well is cool and colorful. The artwork is flowing, detailed, and rich. Bring back Run DMC, The Beasties, and long lice NWA. So the issue then is it's, well, Chris Andersen. If he was a rock star or at least very talented then the knucklehead look, the ridiculous hat, and wanna-be attitude could fly. Instead, the awesome old school hip hop look and artistry loses its punch and pop. But maybe, years from now, when the color is faded and the lines sag, he can make a come back like Vanilla Ice.
13 Awesome: Anthony Davis
Messi should check out Anthony Davis' artist and give him a call. Davis did it right when he got the placement and design of Lamont Eberhardt, his mentor and role model. Eberhardt helped Davis thrive and find his way out of the South Side of Chicago. Lamont died in 2010 and was Davis’ grandfather, but he challenged the young boy to better himself. Davis describes him as a man who was kind, gentle, available, and supportive. The All Star went all out on the work too. The shadows, placement, and details are top notch. Anyone can distinctly see and recognize his face. The writing is also in the perfect font because it's commemorative and lively. He also nailed the man's smile and eyes, as well as the quote “REST UP Champ.”
12 Shameful: Prince Fielder
And it is NOT about his bod! Prince rocks it all with the pose and confidence. He has had an interesting life and has tattoos all over his body to mark his memories. The 33-year-old had a career high 50 homers in 2007 and has 319 dingers over the last 11 seasons. Always a big, powerful man, Prince has his name tatted on his neck in Japanese and along his fingers in English. But the thing is about tattoos is sometimes too much is simply too much. The right shoulder is awesome, but what the heck has he got going on his right buttock and side? Fielder really went all out on the designs here, but somebody really should've been around to tell him when to stop.
11 Shameful: Vanessa Ferrari
I have all the respect in the world for Olympians and the gymnasts are unbelievable athletes with spectacular strength, balance, coordination, and concentration. Making the Olympics is such an incredible achievement that this... thingie on the back of her neck is just wrong. Now DON'T get me WRONG. I don't need a gold medal tatted on one of the greatest Italian gymnast's chest but come on. How about the rings on the wrist, shoulder, or anywhere she can at least see it. And on second thought, why not have a gold medal design somewhere or one of the rings colored in? Vanessa has won every kind of medal, 13 Gold, and ruptured her Achilles. So why not get an anklet of medals? I'm not suggesting for her to brag, but if she's going to do it then do it right.
10 Awesome: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
The Rock has got it together enough to develop his tattoos the right way. When he began to wrestle, his right arm featured a "Brahma Bull." The tattoo symbolizes his Samoan ancestry on his mother's side. The bull represents that the spirit of his family is a source of protection, struggle, and overcoming obstacles. But years later, as The Rock moved out of the ring and into Hollywood, he wanted to rework the image. This past summer, he spent 22 hours with tattoo artist Nikko Hurtado and redesigned the image. There are cracks in the skull and bones that symbolize hard lessons. The horns are also pointed forward to mean relentless energy and progress. The Rock also included the word “Mana," and emphasized the eye. There, he feels energy, power, and spirit. Deep and beautiful stuff.
9 Shameful: Mike Scott
Boy is this deserving for a spot on the shameful side. Seriously, emojis bouncing around like basketballs? Emojis?! The little characters teenagers or love torn adults spot throughout their texts or emails? Scott is a power forward in the NBA and he had every emoji in a free "app" inked on his arms. That is just wrong. Even gremlins, minions, or pop ups would be better. Well, this too shall pass, and maybe one day he'll win a championship, an MVP, or get it covered up. Maybe one day he'll tweet he's LMAO. In any event, his arms are just a mess here and one day when he's middle aged, or in his senior years, he's really going to regret the work he got done.
8 Shameful: Brock Lesnar
When you hear the words Brock Lesnar and tattoo, you probably think of the huge swordlike figure that goes down his chest that looks like a... you know. However, what many may not realize is the tattoo on Lesnar's lower back. Seriously, a tramp stamp on a former UFC Heavyweight Champion? People first noticed this tattoo back at the 2015 Royal Rumble when Lesnar had Cena in a kimura lock, and not only is the tattoo viewed as a tramp stamp, it also has the terrifying message on it, reading: "Kill 'Em All". What... the... hell.. This is one of those cases though where no one can really call Lesnar out on it in person because well... Would you?! Thankfully Lesnar doesn't care about what's on the internet, so we can share it here.
7 Awesome: Luisa Peters
Luisa Peters, a weightlifter from the Cook Islands, is for real. The 5'5" and 220 pounder is one tough, strong woman who could throw me around like a rag- doll. And look at that tattoo on the inside of her right bicep. It's really a simple and beautiful design and proudly displays her burgeoning career. The 24-year-old who started lifting when she was just 16, competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games. She won a bronze at the 2015 Pacific Games and was elected as a vice president of the Oceania Weightlifting Federation. As the first female official, she's hopefully got a long career in front of her. This design is perfectly placed and is a job well done by the artist.
6 Shameful: Michael Beasley
In a culture where everyone tries to outdo each other, "The Beas" needed someone like Brian Bosworth to talk to. The 28-year-old from Maryland who was taken with the 2nd overall pick in 2008, never lived up to his own hype. He played for five NBA teams, the Heat three times, and all across Asia. But maybe this is grounding, to tatt your own wanna be cool nick name, to title yourself as the savior, and maybe he inspired LBJ to get "Chosen 1" inked on his back. But the worst part about it is the art. The wings look ripped and torn apart at the joint as if attacked in a speed eating contest. We all are humbled in life, whether by our own design or others. The Boz.
5 Shameful: DeShawn Stevenson
So this is a good example of taking your time to figure things out. Stevenson, who made the NBA out of high school, played a whopping 13 seasons in the NBA for the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets and Atlanta Hawks. He won a championship with Dallas in 2011, but was also known for having a "beef" with LeBron and various teammates. Though he actually had an ATM at his house, the story goes that he really wanted to honor Abraham Lincoln for his stance against slavery. That's all well and good and no one would bat an eye for honoring that cause. But after that, the five dollar bill design was formed and the entire concept just got weird.
4 Awesome: Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis, from the awesome Jackson, Mississippi, flat out rocks it. The 32-year-old shooting guard isn't the most well known NBA player as he's been on 4 teams over the last 12 seasons. Though I am not personally a fan of sleeves and total body work, these images are just all around really well done. So maybe there are hidden symbols that could get him in trouble , but the tree of life/ family tree is solid. The trunk, roots, and branches are clear and clean. There are also intricate and blended lines and details. He's also showing guys like Messi the right way to draw and place a person who is loved. Covering this much of your body in ink doesn't always work, but somehow it does for Ellis.
3 Shameful: Larry Sanders
The 28-year-old, 1st round 15th overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks should have found a vet to show him the ropes. Seriously, if you're going to get a strange as heck word like "Recieve" on your arm, it's gotta be spelled right. I mean, why spell it wrong? What's up with that? And what an odd word choice. Receive or Recieve what? From who? But kids today can't own up to much. Instead, he tweets "Ummmmmmmm... ain't worried bout nuthin". At least he got the ellipsis right, spelled "worried" correctly, but messed up "nuthin." Listen man. Of course there is nothing to worry about. Being a millionaire, in the NBA, and all the glam that comes with it should be enough to shake anything off. So unless he doesn't read the fine print or blow all his money, he'll have the last laugh.
2 Shameful: Vince Young
Vince Young has been hanging on to having some sort of football career. While he hasn't received an invite to an NFL training camp since 2013, he's continued to work out and most recently earned a spot in the CFL at the Saskatchewan Roughriders' training camp. In what was typical of his career, Young injured his hamstring and was subsequently cut. On to the tattoo though. There's nothing wrong with Young getting a crucifix inked on his back, as obviously it's due to his beliefs, but getting your name on your upper back like a football jersey? Wow, talk about branding. It really looks like a desperate call for attention and he really should've gone for something more subtle if he was so adamant on getting his name inked on his body.
1 Awesome: Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto
Norifumine is a 40-year-old MMA fighter who has recently entered the UFC. Though his career is on the slide, his newly refreshed artwork is sweet and selective. His flawless tattoos include a ring of kanji symbols and lotus flowers which symbolizes beauty and purity. But the real standout is the crane on his chest. The crane is a highly symbolic figure in many cultures and has been the subject of songs, folk lore, and mythology. In Japan, the Crane is a national treasure and represents virtuous ideals such as hope, prosperity, and loyalty. Beyond the symbolism are the skilled lines, wings, and aura. The individual images, connected by the detailed shadowing and color, unite perfectly to create a beautiful image. Just top notch.