Who Was the First Basketball Player With a Tattoo in the NBA?
Dennis Rodman was the first NBA player to have a tattoo that was publicly shown. In 1996, Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers was one of the players who made having tattoos in the NBA more mainstream.
The NBA initially disapproved of its basketball players displaying tattoos, and in 2000 Iverson’s tattoos were airbrushed away when he appeared on the cover of one of the league’s official magazines. The Los Angeles Times reports that in 1998, 35 percent of NBA players had tattoos, and in 2008 about 75 percent of the players were tattooed. According to Slate, in June 2013, the Atlanta Hawks led the league in the percentage of tattooed players, with 80 percent of the team having tattoos.