NBA superstar Ja Morant recently had a group of artists go to work on his back, creating an enormous piece telling the tale of Morant’s rise through the game of basketball. In addition to the autobiographical details throughout the piece, there are more than a few tributes to late Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant.
Morant was obviously feeling a little nostalgic when he went in to get this tattoo. It includes his number 12, the logo for his high school team (the Crestwood High School Knights), his college squad (the Murray State Racers) and his current NBA team (the Memphis Grizzlies). Apparently, Morant believes that he’s going to be staying with Memphis for the rest of his career as there isn’t very much space left to include another team’s logo. In the right portion of his back, Bryant’s number 24 with the word “Mentality,” a reference to “Mamba Mentality.” The tattoo also includes both Morant’s personal logo and Bryant’s personal logo, which if you take a quick glance at look pretty darn similar, with Morant’s being an inverse of Bryant’s. There are also some playing cards, some dice and the phrase “Life’s a Game.”
The tattoo was done by Andres Ortega and a handful of other artists, as you can see in the video above. Ortega, who specializes in black-and-grey realism, has done a lot of large scale projects on athletes, including Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders and CeeDee Lamb of the Dallas Cowboys. Unlike Morant, neither Crosby nor Lamb play in the NBA, yet their tattoos also featured tributes to Bryant. This is more than likely just a coincidence of athletes in the same age group being inspired by the superstar of the time, but it also seems to be an interesting coincidence.
Most of the time we spend writing about celebrity tattoos, we have to dedicate an entire paragraph imploring them to spend their money wisely and get good tattoos for a change. Thankfully Morant already learned that lesson, as have many other athletes who have been visiting Ortega to get big pieces done. Has all of our hard work paid off and your humble writer is singlehandedly responsible for so many athletes getting dope tattoos? Or is it another interesting coincidence? I’m gonna go with the former on this one. We can’t wait to see more.