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
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.


Since: Aug 27, 2010
Posted on: July 27, 2011 12:06 pm

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Oh Puppy, I'm just so glad we have a military with such classy guys employed like you. Seems as if you know a little somethin' somethin' about your very own trailer. I guess since I did not serve and since I have tattoos, I am not as good as a person as your classy self. Typical military persona.

Since: Jun 22, 2011
Posted on: July 27, 2011 11:43 am

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Great guy!  One thing though Mr. Kevin.....take some of that money you are making and hire a personal trainer, talk about plywood chest...for crying out loud pick up a dumb bell!!!!

Since: Jun 9, 2008
Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:33 am

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Instead of making a big deal about getting tattos ask yourself is Durant a bad guy for getting them? No he is a great guy and this was even more of a great move by him because it shows he cares about how his personality looks. Ink is Ink but the thing people do not understand about tattos is 95% of the people that get tattos like Durant did mean something to the person. If you look at his tattos closely I am sure most of those mean something to him about his life so before you judge someone for getting a tatto ask why did they get it was it because they are a trashy person or does the tatto mean something to them. And who cares where it is as long as it means something important to the person then no one should care. The only time you can judge someone is when they have a tatto and you know for a fact that it has no meaning. And you still should not judge because looks are not everything.

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: July 27, 2011 12:35 am

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

The W is for walgreens.  Classic.  That guy gets 5 stars.

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: July 26, 2011 10:37 pm

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Hawk, a person having tattoos and their food choice are not in the least bit comparable. While my opinion may be harsh, I did not make a complete blanket statement. An example of that would be: "All Seattle Mariners fans are losers."

Look, having tattoos is something people can help. It's not like race or as you mentioned, 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. If you think my having that opinion makes me the "dumbest person," you can go fuck yourself.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: July 26, 2011 9:45 pm

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

@SteelWood --YES I'm a NAVY Vet and proud of it you piss of Crap! You would think I asked for your Moronic opinion, NOT! Sorry that you hate Military Members, maybe if you were not a RETARD you could have served as well. Go back to scratching yourself while sitting inside your doublewide with your dirty flaky feet hanging out the window. Maybe you can patch up your Blow Up Doll GF so you can feel better you piece of Dog Dung!

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: July 26, 2011 9:36 pm

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

More often than not, people with tatoos are scumbags.
Dumbest statement, by the dumbest person, I've heard in a loooooong time.  And I don't have tatoos.  It's like saying "more often than not, people who prefer curly fries are scumbags".  It's baseless, ignorant, and irrelevant.  Congratulations, you've hit the trifecta!

Since: Aug 27, 2010
Posted on: July 26, 2011 9:14 pm

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Fourth, you're a dumbass. The consequences I was referring to were you scumbag tat-brandishers being judged by others. Enjoy your $50 thousand a year job, it's the best you'll ever do.
Ahhhhh! Dang you got me pal, I don't make $50K. I make 1,000,000.

You lose.

Tattoos are a form of expression for one's self. If you don't like it, tough. Unless you work at McDonald's, you won't get passed over if you do a great enough job to deserve a promotion. You don't have tattoos and you still get passed up. Tough luck bud.

Since: Aug 17, 2010
Posted on: July 26, 2011 8:53 pm

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception


Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: July 26, 2011 8:28 pm

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Consequences? Like what? An eagle will come down and eat my baby because I got a tattoo? Coming from someone with an guy with a sleeve of tattoos on his avatar.

I hope your wife gets a tattoo without telling you, then you would jump off a bridge pal.

First of all, I'm not not your pal, guy.

Secondly, that's a picture of Dane Sardinha, the Phillies third catcher.

Third, I'm not married, I'm in my early twenties.

Fourth, you're a dumbass. The consequences I was referring to were you scumbag tat-brandishers being judged by others. Enjoy your $50 thousand a year job, it's the best you'll ever do.

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