When Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball added to his growing collection of tattoos over the summer, one of the new designs featured the logo of his father LaVar Ball’s athletic apparel company, Big Baller Brand. But with the NBA having a rule prohibiting players from rocking tattoos or accessories that depict commercial brands, the second-year point guard covered up the “BBB” logo on his arm when he made his preseason debut against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
According to TMZ Sports, NBA officials spoke to Ball about his Big Baller Brand tattoo and advised him of the rule forbidding players from sporting “commercial logos or corporate insignia” on their bodies or hair. This came shortly after Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith was informed that he will need to cover up a right leg tattoo that displays the logo of New York apparel company Supreme, and would receive fines for each game played where he leaves the tattoo exposed.
As of this writing, Lonzo Ball has yet to comment in public on the NBA’s request that he cover up his BBB tattoo. However, Smith appeared less than pleased when the league similarly informed him about his Supreme tattoo and how he will need to keep it covered up during games, according to ESPN. In an Instagram post late last month, Smith ranted about the NBA’s policies, punctuating his comments with several emojis — including three crying laughing faces and a middle finger.
“So I was informed today that I would be fined every game if I don’t cover up my ‘SUPREME TATTOO’ on my legs during games!! These people in the league office are something else!”
While the NBA’s policy against players sporting corporate logos on their bodies or hair recently became a key talking point for fans in the aftermath of the J.R. Smith situation — the rule has been around for quite some time, according to ESPN. Other prominent examples of players getting called out for such violations include Rasheed Wallace, who was prohibited in 2001 from wearing a temporary tattoo that endorsed a candy bar company, and Iman Shumpert — who was asked to get a new haircut in 2013 after sporting a hairdo with the Adidas logo shaved in.
Despite the actions taken against J.R. Smith for his Supreme body ink and Lonzo Ball for his Big Baller Brand tattoo, the NBA has had no apparent issues with other players with visible tattoos depicting commercial brands, ESPN added. The network cited the examples of Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who has the Jordan Brand’s Jumpman logo inked on his leg; Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony, who sports the Warner Brothers’ “WB” logo on his shoulder; and Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, whose forearm is tattooed with the logo of the popular NBC comedy series Friends.