American professional basketball player Allen Ezail Iverson, like a lot of tattoo enthusiasts, does not have a system or plan to his tattoos; he just gets the tattoos when he feels the need or desire to express himself through body art. Born June 7th, 1975 in Hampton, Virginia, he was selected the number one pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the 76ers. He is a ten-time NBA all star.
While Iverson is no stranger to controversy, one incident stands out. In 2005 NBA commissioner Stern passed a ruling banning what was deemed ‘hip-hop culture’ attire from the players, which would stop them from wearing knee-length t-shirts, large items of jewelry and Timberland boots among many other items. This ruling also frowned on the tattoos Iverson and many of his teammates current have. Iverson objected to this ruling calling it unfair and stated that associating hip hop and violent crime was racist. Iverson pointed out that hip hop was itself influencing sponsors of the game.
Most of Allen Iverson’s tattoos are in the hip hop style. He has many that are reminders of his family and personal mottos. During college Iverson got only one tattoo. This tattoo was to represent Georgetown’s mascot the Bulldog. Around the left side of his neck, he has a spider web with the “Virginia” written above it. Iverson was born and spent most of his youth in Virginia. He also has “RA Boogie” written near there. This is a reference to his childhood friend named Rashaan. Rashaan was killed in gun fire and this tattoo is in memory of him as a tribute.
One of his tattoos that is representative of the hip hop or gangsta style is a page taken from Iverson’s childhood. It is two daggers bisected in the middle to form a cross. This tattoo has caused him the most publicity and controversy.
He has a lettered tattoo with the motto “Hold My Own.” This is meant to convey his outlook on life. He is determined to look out for himself and stay true to his own beliefs. He does not view himself as a follower. He believes in staying true to himself.
On his left chest Allen Iverson’s tattoos are spotted again. There he has the names of his two children Tiaura and Allen Iverson II (Deuce) in an urban style script. He also has a pattern running from his elbow to his wrist with the name Jewelz boldly tattooed there. This is the basketball player’s rap artist name.
It is rumored he has other tattoos such as an image of his grandmother on his left chest. He is also reported to have his mother’s name tattooed over his heart. He might at one time have had a grim reaper which he reincorporated into the image of a panther. The total number of Allen Iverson tattoos is supposed to be 20, and he has collected them throughout his time on the NBA.