Tattoos are the ultimate form of self-expression and the same is true with sports tattoos. While most people are a little more hesitant to get sports tattoos, it’s a no-brainer for anyone that’s a die-hard fan of a certain sport, franchise, or even a player – if you’re feeling a little extra perilous.
Getting a tattoo can be scary, especially considering how permanent it is, but it can also be exhilarating – whether it’s your first tattoo or your 20th tattoo. At the end of the day, you just want your tattoo to look good and come out perfect – so let’s hope you have a talented tattoo artist!
The Best Sports Tattoos Will Blow You Away!
Sports tattoos have always been popular among fans and players, but they’re not revered by everyone. In fact, the General Administration of Sport of China just banned all national football players from showing their tattoos while playing. If they already have one, they must cover it up.
Don’t worry, we’re not here to ban anyone from getting a tattoo – especially if you’re considering showing off any sports tattoos. We love seeing fans and players express themselves in unique and interesting ways, which is why we’re going to look at some of our favorite sports tattoos.
Let’s get started!
20. Logo & Skyline Combined
This is a great idea for anyone that wants to pay homage to their favorite sports team and the city they represent. This fan got a tattoo of the Philadelphia Flyers’ logo, but inside the logo you’ll see the Philadelphia skyline. Surprisingly enough, it all looks uniform and fits into the logo nicely.
The cool thing is you can do this with just about any sports team, so long as you have a creative tattoo artist that can make it happen. Needless to say, this artist did a great job and I’m sure the fan is ecstatic to have it on their arm for the rest of their life. I might have to get myself one!
19. Boxing’s GOAT – Signed, Sealed, & Delivered
Muhammad Ali isn’t just one of the greatest boxers of all-time, he’s one of the most influential people to ever walk this planet. He never shied away from being himself and wasn’t afraid to speak up for what’s right. When he spoke, people listened. When he moved, people watched.
His greatness didn’t go unnoticed. In fact, this tattoo is found on the chest of Sean Combs – known by many as Puff Daddy or Diddy. It’s simple, but a great way to pay respect. You can do this with your favorite athlete, just have your artist copy their signature wherever you want it.
18. Unique Rendition of the Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders, who previously played in Los Angeles and Oakland, have one of the most recognizable sports logos in the entire world. The black and grey is synonymous with Raider Nation and isn’t used by a lot of professional sports teams – LA Kings are another one.
This artist wanted to give his father a cool Raiders’ tattoo, but didn’t want it to be the original logo. Instead, they did a modern version of the logo – keeping the shield and swords in the background, but swapping out the old football player with an intimidating one. It’s more fitting.
17. Logo on the Neck – Twice!
You don’t have to play in the major leagues to sport the Major League Baseball logo on your body, but it makes sense. Apparently these two players are very proud of their making it to the big leagues, enough to get the logo tattooed on their neck – one on the back and one on the side.
The two players in question are Javier Baez of the Detroit Tigers and Wander Franco for the Tampa Bay Rays. It makes you wonder how many other players in the MLB have a logo tattoo somewhere on their body. If you don’t root for any one team in particular, you can have one too!
16. Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Brandon Carr
It’s a play that could go down as one of the greatest catches in NFL history. It was November 24, 2014 when the New York Giants hosted the Dallas Cowboys for some Sunday Night Football action. It didn’t take long for Odell Beckham Jr. to mark his territory in that game.
Lined up against cornerback Brandon Carr, the two were battling through a route that saw OBJ targeted in the end zone. It wasn’t the best ball placement, but OBJ did the only thing he knew to do – make a spectacular catch. This tattoo captures that moment for what it was – greatness.
15. Ellington’s Tribute to the GOAT
It’s always nice to see one NBA player salute another NBA player, especially when it’s a player like Wayne Ellington tipping his hat to one of the greatest of all-time – Kobe Bryant. The tattoo is of Kobe’s logo, but inside the logo is a realistic rendition of Kobe’s face. It’s on Ellington’s knee.
The basketball community saw Kobe’s life end far too soon when he was involved in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. The community was saddened, but it’s moments like these that we can sit back and reminisce about the amazing career and even better life he lived.
14. Eagles Win Super Bowl LII
When your favorite team wins the Super Bowl, there’s only one thing to do – get a tattoo to celebrate! This is especially true if your team just won their first ever Super Bowl, like the Philadelphia Eagles did in 2018. They upset the New England Patriots 41-33 in a nail-biter.
Super Bowl LII was one to remember for Philly fans. Up to that point, the Eagles had made two Super Bowl appearances, losing to the Raiders in 1980 and the Patriots in 2004. They got their revenge during the 2017 season and now have one Super Bowl and the NFL Championships.
13. Bailey, the Mascot!
Let’s be honest, mascots don’t receive enough credit for what they do – especially in the NHL. In fact, many sports fans are likely surprised to learn that NHL teams have mascots, since they’re rarely given any air time. Well, this fan wanted to pay tribute to their favorite mascot.
Bailey is the Los Angeles Kings’ mascot. He’s a six-foot lion that wears No. 72, which is the average temperature in Los Angeles. He’s a joy to be around and loves to put smiles on the faces of Kings’ fans every home game – enough that this fan got a tattoo of him on their arm!
12. It’s Artistic & Functional
Okay, let’s take a break from the major professional sports for a second because this tattoo might be legendary. Anyone who goes fishing for sport knows how frustrating it is when you can’t find your ruler. Whenever you need it, it never seems to be right in front of you.
That’s why this fisherman decided to put his ruler on his body in the form of a tattoo. Every single time he catches a good one, all he needs to do is hold the fish up to his leg and he’ll know how big it is. It’s quick, it’s convenient, and let’s be real – you’re thinking of doing the same thing!
11. It’s That Mamba Mentality
Some people remember the #8 Kobe Bryant, while others remember the #24 Kobe Bryant, but they both embodied what Mamba Mentality is. That’s why if you’re going to pay homage to Kobe with a tattoo, you better include both versions of the greatest basketball player of all-time.
This is a cool tattoo. It’s realistic, it has both #24 and #8, it has the Los Angeles Lakers’ logo, and it’s in black and white. It has everything you could need in a Kobe Bryant tattoo and is one you’ll definitely want to show off more often than not. I’m sure that’s what this person is doing!
10. A Debut to Remember Forever
Paulo Orlando played 278 games with the Kansas City Royals from 2015-2018, but there’s one game that meant more to him than any other – his first ever game in the big leagues. It occurred on April 9, 2015 at the age of 29. He played the White Sox and finished the game with one hit.
That game meant so much to him that he got a huge tattoo to commemorate the moment on his back. It shows him hitting the ball with ‘MLB’ in big letters to the left. Underneath that is the date of his debut. He last played in the MLB in 2018 and currently plays professional ball in Brazil.
9. Just a GOAT With His Celly
Alex Ovechkin is one of the greatest hockey players of all-time, so it’s no surprise that some hockey fans feel it’s necessary to pay homage to him via a tattoo. With that said, this tattoo is amazing and captures Ovechkin in a moment we’ve witnessed more than once in his career.
Ovechkin’s goal celebrations are always a joy to witness. Anyone who’s a fan of the NHL has seen it happen 754 times since he joined the league in 2005. That’s a lot of goals and a lot of celebrations. Better yet, that number continues to increase as he has 24 goals this season.
8. A Tribute to the Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the most storied NFL franchises, having been in the league since 1970. They were originally the Dallas Texans of the AFL in 1960, but relocated to the city they call home in 1963. They’ve won three AFL Championships and two Super Bowls.
Their most recent Super Bowl came in 2019 when Andy Reid led his dominant team to the ultimate prize for the first time in 50 years. This tattoo highlights Reid, but also shows Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce next to each other with Len Dawson off in the distance.
7. A Tribute to Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson will forever be remembered for helping to break the color barrier – not just in the MLB or in professional sports, but in society as a whole. He was the first African American to play in the MLB back in 1947 – he was a first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Robinson spent 10 years in the major leagues and accomplished a lot – he won the inaugural Rookie of the Year award, was a six-time All-Star, was MVP in 1949, made six World Series appearances, and even won a World Series. He’s definitely worthy of a realistic tattoo!
6. Warren Sapp & His Retired No. 99 Jersey
Warren Sapp is one of the most intimidating and dominant defensive tackles to ever play the game. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 12th overall pick in 1995 and spent his first nine seasons with the team. He finished his career with the Oakland Raiders.
Over his career, he recorded 96.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions, and one defensive touchdown. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro, one-time Super Bowl champion, and one-time Defensive Player of the Year.
5. Dallas Braden: The Perfect Storm
Imagine pitching the 19th perfect game in Major League Baseball history – that has to be quite the accomplishment, right? Well, that’s exactly what Dallas Braden did in 2010. What’s even more incredible is that he admitted to being hungover during that performance – incredible!
The perfect game led to him being on the cover of Sports Illustrated that same year – the headline read ‘Perfect Storm: Why you couldn’t script a better story than Dallas Braden’s Mother’s Day masterpiece.’ One fan, shown above, turned that memory into a tattoo!
4. Kobe Was One-of-a-Kind
We’ve already talked about two Kobe Bryant sports tattoos, so a third one won’t hurt. After all, he is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time and recently passed too soon. And quite honestly, nothing captures the LA-Kobe connection better than this tattoo right here.
It features him in a Lakers’ jersey, the ‘City of Angels’ nickname for LA, a personal photo of Kobe, and even a backdrop of that famous LA vibe. Whoever the artist is for this tattoo should be proud and whoever’s arm it is should be honored. What a great way to pay homage!
3. Wade Wears His Career On His Sleeve
Dwyane Wade had an illustrious career with the Miami Heat and even had some bright moments later in his career with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. As a tribute to himself, he got this tattoo on his arm and it features all of his biggest NBA accomplishments.
Wade was a 13-time All-Star, one-time scoring champ, three-time NBA champ, eight-time All-NBA player, three-time All-Defensive player, one-time All-Rookie player, 2006 Finals MVP, and 2010 All-Star MVP. That’s a lot of hardware and he showcased all of it in the best way.
2. Mario Chalmers With the W
Speaking of the Miami Heat, let’s not forget about Mario Chalmers – he was the point guard for the Heat’s back-to-back championship runs in 2012 and 2013. He spent his first seven seasons with the team before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies during his eighth season in town.
Having the name Mario comes with a lot of attention – largely due to the Super Mario video game series. So, what does Chalmers do to pay tribute? He gets a tattoo of Super Mario holding a basketball on his arm. It’s fitting, it’s funny, and it matches Chalmers’ laid back personality.
1. A Realistic Gretzky Tattoo
Many people try to debate who the greatest hockey player of all-time is, but let’s be honest – there’s nothing to debate. Wayne Gretzky did things on the ice that we may never see again. He holds records that’ll never be touched and there’s a reason he’s considered the bonafide GOAT.
With that said, you have to make sure that you go all-out if you plan on getting a Gretzky tattoo and that’s exactly what this fan did. I’ve never seen a tattoo look so realistic before. The colors, the shading, the detail, the texture, everything is done to perfection – so kudos to this artist!
Do You Have Any Unique or Interesting Sports Tattoos?
Sports tattoos are always a hit or miss. Some of them are mind blowing and act as a great conversation starter. Others will make you think, “What in the world was that person thinking?” With that being said, as long as you’re happy with it, no one else’s opinion matters, does it?
If you took the time to browse through the sports tattoos above, then you’ve got some amazing ideas when thinking of getting one yourself. You can go with the realistic tribute, you can get the player’s signature, your favorite team’s logo, or even a specific moment or play that you love.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The 30 NBA Teams & How They Rank
Do you have any unique or interesting sports tattoos that you want to show off to the world? We know you’re out there somewhere and we want to see them! Feel free to share them with us and, who knows, they might be featured on our next list of the best sports tattoos of all-time!
At The Buzzer, or ATB is the place for those who love sports, life, family, community, and so much more. We are far from the run-of-the-mill 24/7 sports news websites. We not only bring you what’s happening in the world of sports in terms of trades and breaking news, but we also bring you the news that goes on behind the scenes, like big life moments, and so much more. So take a minute and read one of our articles, we promise you won't regret it.