What do Bob Marley, Lil Wayne, and the 1997 Sports Illustrated cover of Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear off all have in common?
If you guessed they are tattooed on New York Giant wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s thigh, then congratulations, you are correct! Look around in professional sports and it is obvious that many of these athletes love their ink. Most athletes commemorate their sport, honor their family, or celebrate a passion with their tattoos.
Inspiration can come in many forms, of course, but some athletes have the weirdest muses. Like OBJ, these big-name athletes chose body art that leaves us scratching our heads…
Chris Andersen’s Free Bird Tattoo
Andersen takes his nickname “Birdman” and ink very seriously. The Denver Nugget center has quite an elaborate and impressive body art collection, but his multi color “Free Bird” neck tattoo manages to stand out above all the rest.
Regardless, all of Andersen’s over-the-top ink fits the NBA champ’s image. A few awkward looks or laughs will not phase this big man.
Shawne Merriman’s Lights Out Tattoo
Merriman is another athlete that takes his nickname “Lights Out” quite literally. He built an off-the-field brand around the moniker and even created paraphernalia to go with it that looks pretty sweet.
The tattoo on his right forearm that honors the nickname is not so cool, though. Taking a very direct approach to his ink, Merriman’s tattoo of a light switch and the generic hand flipping the switch is the definition of captain obvious.
Stephon Marbury’s Starbury Logo Tattoo
Sticking with the theme of brand tattoos, former Knick Stephon Marbury immortalized his apparel brand Starbury by getting the logo tattooed on the side of his head. While the tattoo is fairly small and tame, the placement is just weird.
Since leaving the NBA in 2009, though, Marbury’s career and shoe line have taken off in China. Guess all publicity is good publicity!
Mike Tyson’s Tribal Face Tattoo
Tyson almost broke the internet when he got a tribal tattoo on the left side of his face. The standout ink starts at his temple and stretches down to his cheek and spans the full width of his eye socket on the top and bottom.
It is a large piece of ink for a face—even Mike’s. The media went crazy when the heavyweight champ got the tattoo in 2003. Since then, the tattoo has been the butt of many jokes, but Tyson does not regret getting the face ink.
In a 2016 interview with Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim, Tyson said: “a lot of stuff happened out of this tattoo, a lot of good stuff.”
Odell Beckham Jr.’s Celebrity Sleeve
Odell Beckham Jr. apparently really loves celebrities. The Giant wide receiver has a unique leg sleeve tattoo that includes large face portraits of Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, and Muhammed Ali, along with Bob Marley and fellow New Orleans native Lil Wayne. The same sleeve also depicts the 1997 Sports Illustrated cover of Mike Tyson biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear.
Who knows why Beckham is into such bizarre ink? Lucky for him, the work is at least good.