Since I broke the news about Yao Ming's rock n' roll tattoo a few months back, I've been paying more attention to NBA players' tattoos. Of course it doesn't take too much effort to spot them, since several players feature more ink than a member of the Japanese yakuza. And since the NBA is all about trends, dozens of players feature Chinese character tattoos. And as we shall see, some are good, some are bad, and some are just plain whack.
Allen Iverson - 76ers
Small, reasonably well-done tattoo meaning "loyalty." Nothing special, a very common tattoo in the West.
Jeff McInnis - Bobcats
Two tattoos- right arm is the Chinese translation for "Jeff" and the left arm means "a state of bliss." Bland calligraphy, but otherwise correct.
Marcus Camby - Nuggets
A very large and well-written Chinese phrase meaning "strive for the clan." However, according to Hanzismatter, Camby's "clan" is not real. I think "family" would have been a better choice of words.
Chris Andersen - Hornets
The "Birdman" is famous for his impressive array of tattoos, considering he looks like a stockbroker trying to recapture his punk-rock youth. Buried in the tattoo mess are two Chinese characters on his arms- left arm reads "Good" and right arm says "Bad." However, Andersen's choice for "bad" also means "nausea". I think a simple 好/不好 interplay would have been more appropriate, but maybe not the kind of "bad" Andersen was looking for. Although "nausea" is apparently what he gives many sportswriters who take issue with his abundant ink.
Marquis Daniels - Pacers
Chalk this up to "WTF?" He says it's his initials in Chinese characters, but the more clued-in among us know that there's no such thing as a Chinese alphabet. As far as I can tell, his characters are 康, which means "health," 文 or 女, meaning "knowledge" or "woman," respectively, and the last character isn't even real. It's the cap found on characters such as 宝 or 安, but by itself, it means nothing. Fail.
Shawn Marion - Mavericks
Shawn "The Matrix" Marion thought it would be cool to get his nickname in Chinese on his leg. What he got instead means "Demon Bird Mothballs." *cue spittake*
So what did we learn today kids? When in doubt, ask Yao Ming.