Blog Entry

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Posted on: July 24, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 2:34 pm
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Posted by Royce Young



Maybe you don't remember the old Canon Andre Agassi commercials. But I'm sure you remember the tagline. Image is everything.

Sure, it was just a clever way to tie in high-quality pictures with a tennis star who had quite a rebellious, care-free image, but that idea lives on. Especially with high-profile athletes. Marketing, branding, visibility, likability -- all that crap is essentially what leads to more money. The more people like you, the more people trust you. So when you endorse a product, whether it be a brand or even yourself, appearance and image, are what matter.

And nobody in the NBA has a more squeaky-clean image than Kevin Durant. He's a superstar, but one that's humble, soft-spoken, team-oriented, committed, loyal and basically 50 other words describing how good a dude he is. He caught a lot of attention when he sheepishly announced his grand five-year max extension with the Thunder while LeBron was prepping for a one-hour special, but it goes back a lot farther than that. He would run the scoreboard in college at Texas during intramural games. He plays video games with neighborhood kids. He signs every autograph. He introduces himself as you wouldn't know who he was. "Hi, I'm Kevin." I mean, we're talking about a global basketball superstar that has two straight scoring titles, was the second-leading vote-getter in the West last season and one of the most visible and brightest stars in the league.

So in terms of image, Durant has about as good a one as you can get. I think you'd have a better chance of finding the Holy Grail than finding someone with a bad word about KD. You know a guy is solid when other fan bases say things like, "Yeah, I can't hate KD. He's just too awesome."

Which is why you might be surprised to know that picture up top is actually of Durant. A lot of people were stunned to see the clean-cut, humble dude from conservative Oklahoma City so inked up. As a result, it started a minor frenzy. Virtually every major blog has picked up the photo of Durant standing in China with his shirt off and subsequently shocked the masses by what was revealed: Kevin Durant has tattoos. Not just one, either. Lots of them.

But what caught so much attention isn't the fact that he has them. It's where he has them. Not on his arms. Not on his neck. Not on his wrist, leg or shoulder. KD only has tattoos on his chest. Almost in a comical square pattern. Almost like he has them there so that they'll stay covered up when he's wearing, you know, a basketball jersey.

Some have wondered: Is this just KD maintaining his image?

Potentially. And if so, you kind of have to respect that self-awareness of his image and brand.

I understand that with tattoos, along comes a certain perception of the person getting them. Especially when they come in excess as in Durant's case. It's a pathetic stereotype, but there's a certain thinking that if a person has a bunch of tattoos, that must say something about who they are, something about their character. You didn't see a bunch of ink all over Martin Luther King Jr. or the Dali Lama. Obviously, that's silly, but that type of idea is unavoidable.

Which is why some have figured that Durant is trying to have the best of both worlds with his tattoos. Keep up that sharp-dressed-man look on the court with clean arms, but have his ink hidden underneath where it would only be seen if for some reason the NBA went shirts versus skins.

I get that theory. It makes sense. But it shouldn't matter. Durant got the tattoos because he wanted them. He had them put on his chest because that's where he wanted them. And if he wants one on his shoulder or arm, he'll get it. Durant is always, always himself. The image people have of him is great, but he's not trying to live up to that. He's not changing who he is just to try and be the person we all think he is or should be. He's simply just going to be him. If some ink on his skin changes the way someone looks at him as a brand, a role model or a player, I think that says a lot more about the person than it does about Durant.

The entire Thunder team has sort of been branded as this choir-boy bunch of kids that say yes ma'am and no sir while having no piercings or nasty body art. Maybe that's because it really fits the conservative nature of Oklahoma and people ate up the fact that the players adhered more to weird community social standards than to the perceived "thug life" of the NBA. With Durant being the face of the franchise, everything fell in step behind him.

But if he has ink, what does that say about the perfect little Thunder? Can we not root for that team now? Should fans not love them as much? Do we tell kids in school not to be like them now? I mean, really, how stupid is it that all of this is because of some ink on a guy's skin?

There is a line and even David Stern acknowledged it when he instituted the dress code a few years ago. There's a certain level of professionalism that has to be upheld for the general public to be able to be to connect with players. It's a touchy area, but understandable. I suppose you could apply those same principles to Durant and his ink, but what does it matter?

A lot of stars have tattoos all over their bodies. Kobe and LeBron have clearly visible ink. Some players don't -- like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Most would've had Durant in that category, too. But does now seeing him inked really change anything? And more importantly, should it?

Ink is ink, a player is a player and most importantly, a person is a person. All three aren't necessarily related.


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Comments

Since: Aug 17, 2010
Posted on: July 27, 2011 5:18 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

RITE AID IS ONE..THEY CLOSED ALL THEM JANKY ASS STORES IN VEGAS..THE AISLES ALL GO DIFFRENT DIRECTIONS..IT TOOK ME 45 MINUTES TO GET OUT OF THAT PLACE ONE DAY...I WILL NEVER GO TO RITE AID AGAIN...



Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Most of the intelligible and important comments have already been made so I'll keep it short and sweet...

1. Screw Walgreen AND CVS... it's all about Rite Aid.

2. The tattoo on Durant's left abdoment looks like a spooky haunted house. oOoOoOHHHHHHHH!!!

3. If I were a really dark skinned black guy, I'd get my tats in white ink. That would be bad-ass.




Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

In my first poist I made a statement that was clearly my opinion. Not once in my rebuttals to you and hawk did I say you two were "wrong" fro your feelings on tattos. But you two have chastised me for my opinion. I don't have to answer and questions because my opinion is my opinion and if you guys want to be sensitive pussies about it and get offended, that's your choice.



Since: Aug 27, 2010
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Way to answer the questions _Kitch. Way to stick up for your opinion that makes absolutely zero sense.



Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

So anyone with a different (albeit offensive) opinion than yours is dumb or a retard. Got it.

And btw, I'm dating a beautiful girl who has, yep, you guessed it, no tattoos. If i really gave a damn what you guys thought I'd link you a facebook pic, but I really could care less.



Since: Aug 17, 2010
Posted on: July 27, 2011 2:43 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

IF YOU IN THE MILARTARY AND NOT A OFFICER THEN YOU IS A DUMB SCUMBAG...YOU MUST A BEEN SOME POOR KID WHO WAS IN A GHETTO AND CULDNT DO NUTHIN BETTER OR YOU WAS LIVIN IN A TRAYLOR PARK AND CULDNT DRIVE IT OFF THE LOT...

BUT ANYWAYS....DURANT GOT CORPORATE LOGOS ON HIS CHEST AND HE GETTING PAID LIKE IT AINT NUTHIN....!!!



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2011 2:34 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Steelwood, you and I both know that there is zero chance that ignorant clown would be dating a girl.



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Look, having tattoos is something people can help.
See, here's where your small-mindedness comes in.  You perceive tattoos as something that people NEED to "help".  Why?  Because you don't like them?

It's a choice, and no, it's not any different than picking a car, what you want for dinner, or what movie to see.  Those choices don't make you a "scumbag" as you said any more than having a tattoo does. 

You've made up your mind about people with tattoos and they have to prove to you that they're not scumbags.  That's idiotic, and the exact same problem that bigots, homophobes, masogonists, etc. have to overcome.  It's simply beyond ignorant to make up your mind about an entire group of people based on a choice they made.  I actually pity people who lack the basic intelligence to recognize they're own ignorance.



Since: Aug 27, 2010
Posted on: July 27, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Oh oh oh I just thought of something else.


So you have this girl you are dating for a few weeks. You really really like her, think things can go far. So you hook up and see a butterfly on her shoulder blade and her dead mother's name down her ribs in a nice font.


You, in your terms, would automatically dump her, say she's shady, and never talk to her again? But if she just had the butterfly, she'd make your "cut"

HAHAHAHA Wow dude, just wow.



Since: Aug 27, 2010
Posted on: July 27, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Look, having tattoos is something people can help. It's not like race or as you mentioned, food choice.
People can't "help" food choice?



I happen to think people with TATTOOS (that's more than one tattoo) tend to come off as shady and I would rather not associate them.
OH, so it's only people with more than 1 tattoo who you hate. So if your best friend has ONE tattoo that takes up his entire back, he's OK in your book, but a co-worker who has TWO small tattoos is automatically shady and a bad person?? Seriously?? You're a joke.


If you think my having that opinion makes me the "dumbest person,"
You are. You hate tattoos but its Ok to have one but not ok to have more than one. I'm shady if I have two but not shady if I only have 1. You......Are......A.......Retard...

... 


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