The 2005 NBA draft was a turning point for the post Stockton-Malone Jazz. Before the Jazz drafted Deron Williams with the third overall pick, few would have thought that John Stockton's replacement (not counting Carlos Arroyo) would be such a, uh-hm, decorated individual. And even more baffling, that someone with tattoos could actually be a good guy! Those of you who watch NBA drafts religiously (like the Guru and I), may remember that Stu Scott predicted that Deron would be a great locker room presence. After asking the standard questions of the young draftee, the always intelligible Mr. Scott finished the interview thusly:
Mike, seven tattoos on this man, still, character ---- all the time, character.
Deron, predictably, had absolutely nothing to say in response. And so, without further ado, let's discuss those seven points of character.
1. The Panther: Deron's most prominent tattoo is that of the Panther on his right arm. I don't know what the panther tattoo means to him personally, but I hate to break the news that it means a lot to other NBA ballers as well. In fact, multiple NBA players, from crappy players to future HOFers have the exact same thing (see, Iverson's right forearm). In fact, the ferocious panther design is so popular that it spans across sports. Other athlete/heartthrobs - like Soccer players/Calvin Klein models - like showing off a little panther art for the ladies.2. The Bicep Initials: On his right arm, Deron has his intials, DMW. (The M stands for Michael). Those also happen to be his daughter's initials, although it's unclear which came first - the tat or the tot (Golden Griff will love that one). On his left arm he sports his mom's initials, DES. Sweet kid.
3. D-Will: You have to love a tattoo of your own nickname in flames. It's like when Karl had that "The mailman" tattoo or when Ricky Green had that "Fastest of Them All" tattoo. Those were something. Not all NBA players opt for the nickname tattoo, of course. Tim Duncan, for instance, passed up on the "Timmy D" tattoo, for the infinitely cooler clown tattoo.
4. Christian Symbols: In keeping with NBA rules, Deron has a token christian tattoo. He has a cross with a rose and angel wings on his left arm (just below all of the beautiful imagery of the picture on the right).
5. Texas Made: As if it weren't enough that Boozer's tattoos are an homage to the Bulls' 1998 championship, Deron gives a shout-out to the Mavs/Spurs/Rockets every time he takes the floor. I would point out that Deron is actually "West Virginia Made." Of course, being accurate in this case would make a really lame tattoo even lamer.
6. His Daughter's Birth Date: Apparently, Deron has the date his daughter was born tattooed on his chest. Really? Is it in long form with gothic script, like, "The First Day of October in the Year of Our Lord, Two-Thousand and Two," or is it just "10-1-02." Either way, it screams I-ran-out-of-ideas.
7. NO GUTS, NO GLORY: Finally, his most recent and eye-scorching additions. He didn't have the Guts/Glory tattoos in college, so he may have inked them in Utah, which is a shame. You'd think we could do better than that. Those two lines in gothic font on his triceps rank among some of the worst tattoos in the NBA. Personally, if I'm getting those tattoos, and I'm an NBA player, I would get them upside down so they can only be read by a defender when I'm rising to shoot over them. Then, after I score, I could yell "NO GUTS, NO GLORY" and waive a hand in front of my face as if I can't feel it. That would be cool and intimidating, right?