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Writer Jason Reid questions John Wall for getting tattoos

John Wall chest tattoo

Washington Post sports writer Jason Reid wrote a column critical of John Wall on Monday for the Washington Wizards point guard’s decision to get several tattoos — and share photos of them on social media — when he previously billed himself as a player with a clean-cut image.

Welcome to the Colin Kaepernick debate, part II.

Last month, we posted photos that showed Wall’s new chest tattoos. The former No. 1 overall pick recently got the tattoos and had them strategically placed on his body so that they are not visible when he is wearing his basketball jersey. Wall’s tattoo artist even noted that Wall is following the strategy of Kevin Durant by getting “business tattoos.”

[Photos: See John Wall's new tattoos]

Reid does not argue against the merits of tattoos. Instead, he says Wall’s change in attitude towards tattoos raises questions about the 22-year-old’s mindset.

Reid writes:

But not every player flip-flops on a topic in such a public way. Factor in that Wall is expected to receive a huge payday from the Wizards next month, and the timing of his tattoo revelation raises questions about his decision making. For a franchise with a history of backing the wrong players, that’s food for thought.

Reid’s concern is that Wall may not know who he is and therefore would be a risk to award a max contract.

When he first entered the league, Wall said that he wanted to stay ink-free for marketing purposes.

“When I first cut my hair and all that and didn’t get any tattoos, that was the main thing, having a clean image coming into this,” Wall told Michael Lee the summer after he was drafted, per DC Sports Bog. “That’s what [his advisors] want, to help you to be more marketable. And if you don’t stay in the league a long time, it helps you get jobs after this.”

Though around the time of the 2010 NBA Draft many viewed Wall as a clean-cut player because of his lack of tattoos, the young point guard did say that when he was younger, he wanted a tattoo to commemorate his late father. His mother talked him out of that.

Clearly Wall’s interest in tattoos is not something new.

Wall now has extensive tattoos on his chest and back. His chest tattoo is a tribute to his hometown of Raleigh, N.C., with a picture of the city’s skyline and an image of the Interstate-40 highway.

Me and @john_wall after he got whole stomach!  1st #Tattoo,1session,one of toughest reppin Raleigh!....#tattoosbyrandy & #5Deep

On his back is a “great wall” where there are different images representing building blocks of Wall’s life. DC Sports Bog’s Dan Steinberg says Wall plans to get more tattoos.

Reid believes that Wall’s decision to get tattoos gives the Wizards reasons to be concerned.

So if you still have something to prove on the court, why give your employer reason to be unsure of who you are off it?

It seems like Wall’s attitude towards tattoos never changed. Wall is a little older and, in the three years since he was drafted, the attitude of corporate America towards tattoos may have softened. After seeing Kevin Durant unafraid to show his ink, Wall may have felt more comfortable doing the same thing.

If Durant getting a bunch of tattoos and showing them publicly has not concerned Reid, then I’m not sure why his opinion changed when it came to Wall.

Photo: Instagram/John Wall


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  • Rob Lambeth

    Tattoos are as common as water, who cares? The days of tattoos being a “bad boy” thing are long gone. Grandmas have them, Justin Beiber has them. It’s just a “I gotta have them because everyone I know has them” thing now, you don’t want to be the last kid on your block to have his very own tattoos.

  • SherylSimpson

    it’s just a personal statement. not necessarily “bad boy” (or girl..)
    and almost never “just cuz everybody has em”. from what i see, Wall has
    a very “clean-cut” approach to his body art–nothing that shows with
    his shirt on–and the images he has chosen appear to be thoughtful. the writer is either stuck in an archaic mindset or just grasping at straws to validate a ridiculous argument.

  • JKSOND

    Jason Reid has gotten bolder with his negative critic of atheletes over time(I use 2consider him worth listening2)-

    His commentary sounds like his fellow writers(Wilbon-especially), more jealously then anything worth mentioning….