July 21, 2011
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant(notes) is typically considered to be one of the most likable players in the NBA, a humble kid who just happens to be blessed with unreal ability on the court. For a league with past stars like Allen Iverson(notes) that rubbed some fans the wrong way, Durant represents someone with broad appeal. Oh, and it's also commonly believed that he has no tattoos, if that matters to you.
It turns out that last part isn't entirely accurate. As you can see in the photo above, taken during a recent promotional trip to China, Durant's torso is covered in ink (via TBJ). Like most of today's NBA players, he likes tattoos. Unlike them, he doesn't get them on parts of the body that can be seen easily while he plays basketball.
After the jump, check out the first hint we got of Durant's tattoos in a photo from Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. From the looks of things, he's added at least one tattoo since then.
If you look closely, the Washington Nationals-styled "W" on Durant's stomach looks like a new addition. Durant's from the D.C. area, so this one is probably a way of showing some pride in his hometown. Also, in case you're wondering, the names "Barbara" and "Wanda" on his chest are references to his grandmother and mother, respectively, the women who raised him.
It's tempting to say that Durant is trying to hide his tattoos to appeal to a larger market of fans, but it's possible that he just prefers to put tattoos on his torso and not his extremities. Plus, we've reached a point as basketball fans where tattoos are not an automatic sign of a thug. They're perfectly normal and a common feature of the league's most popular players. LeBron James(notes) is covered in tattoos, but any marketing issues he has are tied to his lack of a championship, not the belief that he's a gang member. That point of view is thankfully a thing of the past.
Whatever the case, Durant's tattoos prove that he's not the squeaky clean figure many people make him out to be. As I've said before, he has an edgy streak. He has a lot more in common with the rest of the NBA than many people are willing to admit.