I don't have any tattoos. Sure, they can look totally boss on the right people in the right circumstances, but I've just never felt 100 percent confident that I'll always love -- and feel comfortable broadcasting my love of -- the images or words I'd be getting inked on my body, no matter how much I might enjoy them at the moment I set foot in the parlor.
This has proven to be a pretty solid policy in my life to this point, since it has prevented me from having to walk around with "JIMMY EAT WORLD FOREVER" on my left bicep, a full-sleeve relief of the cast of "Dollhouse" on my right arm or a hobo with a bindle on a stick on my lower back, because I'm extra clever. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel an immediate shock of awe and envy when the New York Knicks' official Twitter account shared this image:
Yep, that's right: It's a tattoo of "The Dunk," John Starks' famed left-hand throwdown on Horace Grant from the closing minute of Game 2 of the 1993 Eastern Conference finals between the Knicks and the Chicago Bulls.
"The Dunk" is one of the quintessential images in Knicks history, always sure to get New York fans singing hosannas about the good ol' days and Bulls backers angrily reminding everyone that Chicago went on to win that series (and the NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns) in six games. And now, the image -- complete with Starks' crazy eyes, a too-late-to-help Michael Jordan and even Dick McGuire's retired number 15 hanging in the rafters -- lives on the arm of one James Cruz, who posted the image to his Twitter account early Thursday morning.
When Cruz, a self-described "event coordinator, songwriter, singer/rap artist/model" and "real New York Knicks fan," posted the Twitpic, he wrote, "[I] wonder what @thenyknicks think about my new tattoo." While I can't speak for the team, I know what I think: As long as you're cool with wearing long sleeves for job interviews, Mr. Cruz, you've done a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Look, people are going to question your choice. They're going to see your arm and be like, "Did this dude just did this?" Let 'em. Haters are going to hate. That's their job, man. But hate is fleeting. Arm tattoos of all-heart shooting guards dunking over superior opponents are forever. (No, seriously. Forever.)
UPDATE: BDL reached out to Mr. Cruz via e-mail for some more details about his "The Dunk" tattoo, and he was kind of enough to reply. Here's what we've got:
- When/where did he get the tattoo? "I actually got 'The Dunk' tattoo about two years ago at my friend's tattoo shop, called One Stroke, in Queens, N.Y."
- Why "The Dunk"? "I have a New York sleeve on my right arm, and I feel like 'The Dunk' was a very powerful moment for New York City. It's just something about that dunk that made me proud to be a New Yorker."
- On the Knicks in general, and Starks in particular: "The Knicks mean a lot to me. Me and my family grew up watching them, and John Starks was always one of my favorite players because he always had that fight in him. As far as this season, I feel like we made some good trades and we should make the postseason."
- How much did the tat run you? "$350. It's usually more, with the detail that's in it, but I always go to my tattoo artist, Richard Parker." (You can check out a larger image of the tattoo and a short video clip featuring Cruz at Parker's website.)
Photo credit: @JamesCruzMusic
- John Starks