By Douglas Smith @DFresh39 on March 28, 2014
There was a time when tattoos were only seen in a couple of sports, but the interest in ink is growing in every sport. There was a lot of coverage on tattoos during the recent Winter Olympics. Plenty of NBA stars are covered with ink. It's hard to look down a line of scrimmage and not see a tattoo. Let's take a look at some of today's best athlete tattoos.
MMA fighter Benson Henderson took something that could be cliche to the next level with a full back piece of intricate wings. His first tattoo came from winning a bet with his mother when he was still in high school. He also has the word "Warrior" in Korean tattooed.
Brittney Griner says she was often picked out in a crowd and it wasn't just for being tall. As an openly gay athlete, she has what she calls her "lesbian tattoo", which is two female symbols made to look like a branding. She is a nature lover, so her recently finished sleeve is full of things she loves from the outdoors.
The Birdman had to be included in this list. Chris Anderson had minimal ink prior to the 2008 season, but was fully tatted up from then on out. He has "Free Bird" on his neck and wings on his biceps to go along with colorful full sleeves.
Daniel Agger has a full back piece to go with his arms, and it starts with his birth year and a saying that means "Death is Certain, its Hour is Not". His back also contains three vikings with the equivalent of "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." He also has "YNWA" across his knuckles for the Liverpool anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone".
Skateboarder Ryan Scheckler and his dad were big fans of the movie Gladiator, and now they both have the words "Strength and Honor" inked on their bodies. Scheckler is almost out of canvas space as there are many symbols of patriotism on his body. He also has an eye over a protrusion that was caused from breaking his left elbow six times.
How many people would be confident enough to have a Teletubbies tattoo? His other arm features heaven, earth, blue sky and fire. The Latin saying means "Wherever You are, I'll be there".
David Beckham's tattooed motto says "Let them hate as long as they fear". Before the term tramp stamp was coined, Beckham got his first son's name, Brooklyn, inked on his lower back. The rest of his family is represented across his body, including his favorite image of wife Victoria.
Jamie Staff is a decorated cyclist, having won at the Olympics and at the World Championship. His tattoo on his leg is an intricate detail of a car piston, a sprocket and bicycle crank working together and appearing to rip through his skin.
The USMNT midfielder is proud of his American ties as the U.S. flag is shown prominently on his body. He also has words or symbols that represent his wife, children and best friends. He says his tattoos are another connection to America as many in Germany do not get tattooed.
Canadian bobsled star Kaillie Humphries has tattoos on her legs and the lengths of both of her arms. One arm has portraits of her mom and dad. Humphries often has one side of her head shaved and emits a certain persona. It is the elaborate work on her left leg that many are drawn to, and she loves to share it.
Guard Monta Ellis uses his tattoos as a tribute to his family. His torso features a rather large tree that branches to his chest and arms. The words "Family First" stretches across the length of his chest. He has images of his son, wife, parents and grandparents on his body.
Sydney Leroux can cause a stir on the soccer field, but her ink tells a story. Her father left at a young age, so her mom raised her, and the largest tattoo on her back tells that tale. There is a large dying tree with a few bright blossoms left and a silhouette of Leroux and her mother holding hands under the tree.
Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has an unpredictable personality and may be the best player on the planet right now. The red dragon on his back is his way of saying he has a warrior mentality. He also has Buddhist and Native American symbolism. The ‘Ibrahimovic Code’ on his wrist is actually the birth dates of his parents and three siblings. Nike designed a jacket based on his tattoos.
If you are thinking stereotypically, then figure skater John Coughlin may not be one of your candidates. His back is covered with an image of St. Michael, the patron saint of law enforcement. That was his father's line of work, and his mother would pray to St. Michael every day for her husband's safety.
Christmas Abbott has made the media rounds because she is a part of a NASCAR pit crew and is also an amazingly built CrossFit athlete. On her leg, she has a weeping willow to represent her favorite location to play as a child. She also has tattoos to represent her brother and sister. Abbott got her first tattoo when she was 15.
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