Upwards of 50 percent of NBA players have one or more tattoos, according to statistics gathered from various NBA resources. Body art seems to be a rising trend in professional basketball and may be spreading to college players as well, as is the case for GC basketball players Jordan Thomas, Dail Adaway and Jasmine McSwain.
Thomas displays several tattoos across his body, from an Atlanta Braves logo to the names of his sister, mother and grandmother.
“They’re the people that support me the most,” Thomas said, regarding his family members’ names on his arms.
Thomas’ first tattoo was a phrase he and his high school team valued during their careers. The words “One Love,” along with an image of a basketball with wings, is now displayed on his chest.
“I just wanted one,” Thomas said. “It was kind of a trend. And then once I got my first one, it was addicting. I never really planned to be ‘tatted up.’”
Thomas said he definitely plans to get more tattoos and already has ideas for the future.
While omas began to get tattoos in high school, Adaway’s first tattoo was an 18th birthday present since her mom had told her she had to wait until then.
“I think I just wanted to try it,” Adaway said. “My sisters have them, so I grew up looking at them, thinking, ‘They look cute, so I want one, too.’”
Adaway’s first tattoo was her birthday in Roman numerals down the side of her abdomen.
“It was the most painful,” Adaway said. “[When I rst got there,] I was so scared, I was sweating.”
Adaway also has four hearts on her left shoulder to represent her and her close group of long-time friends, as well as Psalms 16:8 on her right shoulder.
“The Bible verse is ‘I keep God in my right hand. With Him by my side, I will not be shaken,’ and this is my right hand, my shooting hand, so it’s special,” Adaway said.
Adaway said she doesn’t agree with the stigma surrounding tattoos and also plans to get more eventually.
“It’s my body,” Adaway said. “You shouldn’t judge me by what’s on my body. Judge me by my knowledge, by what’s inside me, not by what you see.”
McSwain said she draws inspiration from her family for her tattoos, which are displayed along her shoulder blades, down her arms and along the side of her abdomen.
“My dad has been one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to me playing basketball,” McSwain said. “He was the rst one to actually put a ball in my hands.” Along with a portrait of her as a child with her dad, McSwain also has a re-creation of a childhood picture with her mom and brother.
“Family is all we have, and my mom has been one of the biggest supporters, as well,” McSwain said. “I just wanted to be able to have a piece of them anywhere I go. If I need inspiration, I can always look down and see them and kind of hear their voices for encourage- ment whenever I’m down.”
McSwain has a total of 12 tattoos, some of which have become combined with each other to create a piece of artwork that stretches across her back. One of these images is a colorful oak tree that she said depicts a tree she loves in the backyard of her childhood home.
“It’s really calming, especially in the morning time or when the sun is going down and the leaves blow in the wind,” McSwain said. “It helps me think. It brings serenity to me.”
McSwain said she val- ues the permanency of tattoos because she can have those meaningful images with her forever.
“I’ve always said it’s a way of expressing yourself,” McSwain said. “For me, personally, I get [tat- toos] because what if I ever lost these photos? I want to be able to see my mom and dad and have them with me forever.”
Top photo courtesy of Jasmine McSwain
Middle photos courtesy of Dail Adaway
Bottom photo by Madi Brillhart | Staff Writer