Allen Iverson's tattoos are almost as famous as his basketball playing. Read on to discover the story behind the ink.
When he was recruited for the NBA, Iverson only had one tattoo. A typical souvenir from his college years, he was content with one until he became hooked on the fashion statement. The fascination was only fueled further by a growing reputation for being rebellious and out of the box. From media reports of him being caught with guns, to his head to toe body art, Iverson has become a celebrated basketball icon, whether you are a member of his fan club or not.
The Importance of Allen Iverson's Tattoos
One of the reasons Iverson's tattoos are so intriguing to the public lies in the fact he has a story behind each one. Like an anatomical scrapbook, each tattoo stands for a life experience, a viewpoint he possesses, or a message he wishes to convey to those who watch him in action. Like many athletes and artists, Iverson looks to his tattoos for motivation and focus, and many argue that it has in fact helped his game.
Behind the Ink
Below is a history of many of the athlete's tats, each of which truly tells a story about who he is, where he's been, and what he hopes to become.
Left Neck Artwork
On Iverson's left neck area, you will see a spiderweb with the word "Virginia" written above it. This is where Iverson was born and spent his childhood. Also on the left neck area is "RA Boogie," a tribute to a childhood friend named Rashaan, who was tragically shot. A second "Rashaan" tattoo is located on his arm, symbolizing his second son who shares a name with his deceased friend.
Only The Strong Survive
One of the most famous of Allen Iverson's tattoos, this one represents the player's rough childhood. It is made up of two daggers fused together to form a cross. With his gangster lifestyle, including an entourage of gun-toting companions, it's no wonder this tattoo has garnered some of the highest levels of publicity.
The above mentioned "first tattoo," is a bulldog that represents his alma matter, Georgetown. His nickname (The Answer), is written above the dog, showing off Iverson's self-esteem and the almost arrogant gumption he is known for.
Hold My Own
Following along the lines of his self-esteem theme, Iverson's "Hold My Own" tattoo explains his outlook on life-- that he must look out for himself and stay true to his own inner beliefs and motivations. Iverson has never been a follower, and he makes that clear both through his art and through his game.
Self-explanatory, the loyalty tattoo shows Iverson's commitment to his family and to his roots. He is a firm believer in staying true to where you come from, and his devotion to his past is obvious.
Head of a Soldier
In an interview, Iverson once explained this tattoo as representing his life as a battle. Having survived various challenges, both personally and professionally, Iverson compares himself often to a victorious soldier in battle.
Tiuara and Deuce
Located on his left chest, the names of Iverson's two children are emblazoned onto his skin as a reminder of the important role family plays in his life, as well as his devotion to his own kids. His children are Tiaura and Allen Iverson II, playfully known as "Deuce."
Written on his elbow and climbing down to his wrist, Iverson's tattoos also apparently advertise aspiring career goals. "Jewelz" is his rap artist name, and the tattoo is fairly recent, perhaps promoting an upcoming album or some other musical endeavor.
Beyond the basic tattoos that are visible during most NBA broadcasts, there are a few rumored inkings hidden and not confirmed. One of these includes an image of his grandmother on his left chest. To further spread the family love, his mother's name is allegedly tattooed over his heart. Another speculation is a grim reaper, which has apparently been re-inked to form a panther, reportedly because some of Iverson's family members were Black Panthers. ---- With over 20 tattoos collected through his NBA seasons, Allen Iverson's body art will continually be a source of intrigue and speculation from the media and his loyal fans.