The earliest tattoos were seen on Egyptian mummies dating back to 2000 B.C. However, due to
a recent discovery, it has been shown to originate from a time even earlier than that, based on
the remains of a 5,200-year-old Iceman who was unearthed in 1991. In many cultures and races
across the globe, tattoos hold independent significance to each. To some, they are marks of
distinction or class (indicating status, power, or age) or they can be identifying symbols of
shame and stigma (slavery).
In modern times, most tattoos are specific to each individual and can portray any manner of
meaning. Today, we shall look at the top 4 sports icons with the best tattoos and what they
actually mean or represent.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Certainly deserving of the number one spot is Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. His
upper body displays an array of 14 individual tattoos. The majority of the symbols on his arms
are the names and birthdates of his family members; the right is reserved for the men in his life,
and the left for the women (closer to his heart). On his left shoulder is a depiction of a gray koi
fish, which is considered to be a bit rarer and wilder than their orange-colored kin. The gray koi
also symbolizes the overcoming of obstacles, since these fish are known to swim upstream
against the flow of the current.
Other tattoos such as his Maori tribal mark and Buddhist monk are for protection and prosperity
for Ibrahimovic and his family. Others like the eagle feather on his right shoulder signify courage
and endurance. Perhaps the most notable though, is the names of the 15 individuals suffering
from hunger that were temporarily tattooed across his chest and torso in order to raise
awareness for world famine. That’s definitely some impressive commitment dude, hats off to
- Brock Lesnar
Wrestling juggernaut Brock Lesnar of the WWE and UFC. He has the least amount of tattoos. Nonetheless, they each carry a deep meaning for him and also seem to echo his personality as well. The large demonic skull with a sword through the middle etched into his back would seem to suggest overcoming death. Under the image are the words ‘Kill ‘Em All’, which is Metallica’s album title, which also happens to be the band who plays his UFC entrance soundtrack. Another outstanding symbol is the upwards-facing sword tattoo on his chest. Lesnar relates this particular image to how life seemed to be keeping him hostage at the time. Speaking of the UFC, president Dana White recently announced that the UFC will be returning to Boston for UFC 292. Fans can use Massachusetts sports betting promos to get in on the action. UFC 292 will be a stacked card featuring two championship bouts. The Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling faces off against Sugar Sean O’Malley and the women’s Welterweight championship featuring Zhang Weili against Amanda Lemos.
- Chris Anderson
Coming in at 3rd place is the NBA’s Chris Anderson.If you’ve already had the pleasure of seeing basketball star Chris Anderson shirtless … must we really say more? He likely holds a Guinness World Record for the Most Colorful Tattoos on the Human Body, or, is at least the first runner-up. According to his personal tattoo artist, John Slaughter, 65% of his body is currently covered in ink. He’s affectionately known as ‘The Birdman’ due to his brightly colored inks and consistent mohawk haircut, or maybe that’s because of the crimson Phoenix feathers on his inner biceps, or maybe of the words ‘Free Bird’ on either side of his neck? Draw your own conclusions.
Some of Anderson’s tattoos are a symbol of the time he spent serving his drug suspension, serving as a reminder of his victory and endurance during those difficult times. Others consist of words or phrases (some explicit in nature), but the star insists every single one holds special meaning and wasn’t some drunk mistake. We should certainly hope for Birdman, since that remaining 35% is beginning to look a bit slim.
4. Gervonta Davis
Last, but not least, is Floyd Mayweather’s boxing protege, Gervonta Davis. This Maryland-bred 28-year-old has been making waves on the boxing stage with his near-perfect knock-out rate, and his undefeated record. His tattoos are also quite a talking point. Most striking is the word ‘blessed’ written above his collarbone. According to Davis, it represents his early childhood struggles with child protective services and how he was able to get his start in boxing.
Many of the other images inked over his arms and chest represent power, ferocity, and courage, such as the gorilla and lion head, while others like the cross symbolize his faith and belief. There are some tatts that Davis hasn’t really shed much light on, namely his Japanese fire with stars, and ‘Mexican girl’ inks, but most can discern what they might mean with a little research. Unlike Anderson, Davis seems to have plenty of space left to play around with.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list as there are many more sporting icons whose tattoos will earn them an honorable mention. Nevertheless, those detailed above are without a doubt deserving of their title.