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.


Comments

Since: Jul 22, 2008
Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

I like Durant as a player and from what I can tell he seems like a solid person. Fair or not, the tattoos do change his image a little bit. I know from now on when I see him, that stupid Washington Nationals logo will be in my head.




Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:27 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Hidden_Talent, you make me laugh... You change your view on him because he gets spiritual tattoos and ones honoring his Mom and Grandmother... He is still the same player and person... While I don't agree with some of the silly tattoos on some of these players, I can't fault him for these... They are covered unless he decides to show them and the last time I checked NBA games aren't played in shirts and skins... This is just a slow NBA news day so the media creates a story and people like you make a big deal out of it... Give me a break... He is a great player and from all indications a great teammate/person...



Since: Jun 11, 2007
Posted on: July 25, 2011 10:07 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

KLM......."The best is these ignorant gang members that have all these tattoo's and then when they brake the law their busted because their easy to identify.  In fact that's the only good reason I like tattoo's, it helps identify the morons in this world."

That is classic. That cracked me up.  Nobody could top that in all of their rebuttals. Well done! That last line, especially that last line, almost made me fall....



Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: July 25, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

This is a Fad.....I'm a Navy Vet. and most guys that sported Tats were in the military. Only have a USN Anchor Tat. Now days they wear Tats like a billboard its sad but it don't make anyone a bad person. It's Art....Its just funny to see some that wear Tats try to be Bad,lol! Basketball players are the worst because they are so small. I'm just surprised the league have not made some strict rules yet. I luv Tats but would rather see and Art Drawing on paper. LMAO! 



Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: July 25, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

In honor of this story, I got WHO CARES? tattooed on the inside of my eyelids




Since: Oct 21, 2009
Posted on: July 25, 2011 6:31 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

@TDAISON

Get real. Are you really that out of touch?



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: July 25, 2011 6:31 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

KLM11, you set a new standard for ignorant ranting.  Congratulations!  Unless this baseless, incoherent rant was a cry for help.  In that case, good luck!

BTW, you're "very nice and smart guy" was obviously pretty stupid and not very nice if his choice of a tattoo was a cartoon character giving the world the finger.  At least not in comparison to someone like Durant.

Love the criteria for when it makes sense to get a tattoo 1) You'll never be released from prison 2) you're a special forces member, or 3) a tribesman.   I can only imagine the number of "good" tattoos that Maori ex-special forces guy who ended up in prison for life would have.


TDAISON
Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: July 25, 2011 5:52 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: July 25, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Dude, have your mom bring you more meds before you seriously lose it.


TDAISON
Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: July 25, 2011 5:39 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator



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