The NBA Ink Scandal


Alejandro Cervantes

Basketball hoop located in the small gym.

During the off-season, notable basketball players JR Smith and Lonzo Ball got what they assumed to be innocent tattoos. However, at the start of the season, the National Basketball Association (NBA) gave them the ultimate ultimatum: either cover up the tattoos or get hefty fines each game. This was a very controversial move for the NBA as more than 90% of its players have tattoos according to sports writer Ethan Swan.

This all began in late September when J.R. Smith posted on his Instagram that he had received messages from the NBA telling him that he had to cover up his Supreme tattoo on the back of his leg. This sparked a lot of controversy as fans believed that the NBA was not allowing its players to express themselves freely. These tattoos are problematic for the NBA since they are showcasing brands that are not sponsored by the NBA.

League spokesman Mike Bass defended the NBA by releasing the following statement, “NBA rules prohibit players from displaying any commercial logos or corporate insignia on their body or in their hair.”

Junior Nayeli Playas said, “I think that it’s a player’s choice what they get on their body, but I can see why the NBA would want to have a voice when it comes to what the players get tattooed. For example, a player can get a tattoo that’s offensive.” Playas believes that as long as the tattoos are not offensive, the NBA does not have a right to dictate what players can and can’t do. “At the end of the day it should be the players’ choice what they get tattooed on their body,” said Playas.

This was a shocking move for the NBA as there have been other players who have been sporting logos as tattoos, yet they haven’t been fined. Other players have Nike or Jordan tattoos, yet they haven’t been told anything since those companies sponsor the NBA.

Sophomore David Joaquin said, “I don’t think the NBA should really get involved with players’ personal lives and choices unless it affects their play on the court.” Joaquin believes that the NBA should be more concerned about the players’ game on the court instead of what they have on their body. “Let them do whatever they want as long as the NBA because the tattoos aren’t affecting anyone. The only people who seem to care about the tattoos is the NBA officials.”

When Mr. Curtis was asked about the subject he said, “No, if they want to advertise they should be allowed to as they only do them for fun.” Mr. Curtis was very adamant on the fact that the NBA should not be involved in what players decide to put on their body, because they don’t physically own the players; they are only their workers. Mr. Curtis also said that, “The NBA is not allowing the players to express themselves freely, which is wrong since the NBA is already hard enough without it controlling every aspect of the players lives.”