Black sportsmen with jaw-dropping tattoos paying homage to iconic civil rights activists

Francis Akhalbey Francis Akhalbey | Editor October 29, 2019

Watford footballer Andre Gray -- Photo Credit: Geoff Pugh

People get tattoos for various reasons. While some may hold personal and indispensable meanings to the bearer, others may not as they could have been gotten spontaneously due to a sudden rush of adrenaline that kicked in.

All in all, getting something permanently inked on your skin ought to be something that is well contemplated to avoid having any regrets in future.

At the end of the day, no one would want to be waking up every morning and be constantly reminded by their mirror about a not-so-well thought out decision.

With that being said, tributary tattoos are a way of keeping the memories of people alive. Be it of close relations or of people who have changed the course of history, they are usually the go-to options for people who want to pay homage to such legacies, and that is exactly what some of our favorite black sportsmen have been doing.

From MLK, Malcolm X, to Rosa Parks, just to mention a few, these sportsmen decided to show some respect to iconic black personalities whose activism and actions changed the world.

Check them out below:

Lonzo Ball

The New Orleans Pelicans point guard recently decided to go big with a full-sleeve tattoo on his left arm which features detailed and conspicuous portraits of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Barack Obama, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson.

Andre Gray

The English football star, who plays for Watford, went viral in 2017 when he shared a jaw-dropping back tattoo of several trailblazing black personalities, as well as, sporting moments.

The likes of Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Rosa Parks, Marcus Garvey, Huey Newton, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Tommie Smith & John Carlos, Bob Marley and the Black Panther Party featured in the incredible work of art.

Speaking with The Telegraph, he explained the motive behind the tattoos.

“The civil rights movement is something I’ve looked into a lot,” he said. “When I was about 23, I started reading up on it all and watching TV programmes. You find you read about one person and then you find there is a documentary you can watch about them and then it usually leads on to something else.”

He also spoke extensively about Marcus Garvey and why he admires him.

“He was the first person to really start trying to fight back and fight for equal rights. Most interesting for me, he created a ship, which is on the tattoo as well, to take African Americans back to Africa from other countries,” he said.

“He was the one a lot of other famous civil rights activists looked up to and he had Jamaican heritage as well, like me, so it was really interesting for me. Then you start watching videos on YouTube and all these other people pop up and you learn more and more.”

John Wall  

The Washington Wizards NBA star has portraits of Malcolm X, MLK, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson on his skin. He shared an Instagram story of his tattoos in 2017 with the caption: “Pay respect to the ones who made a way for me.”