These days, tattoos are pretty much synonymous with professional athletes. Watch a sport, any sport, and how many bodies do you see adorned with ink? The answer is obvious, A TON.
You would think, with an athlete’s job being performed in front of an audience, many times a national one at that, they would have a little more discretion when it comes to what they choose to display on themselves.
On the other hand, why should they care? People should be entitled to put whatever the hell they want on their body without being judged. Unfortunately, with every other facet of an athlete’s life falling under the media microscope, it’s inevitable that personal choices in the form of body art are too, (un)fair game.
The “Great” Poohdini
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, or always thought it was the grim reaper (like me). “Poohdini” is the name above a magician, wizard (or grim reaper) looking tat on his left shoulder.
In his own words, the former MVP described the tattoo as–
A wizard holding a ball, ‘Poohdini’ my nickname going across there like magic. So the great Houdini, I put Poohdini. I put the ‘dini’ in the back of Pooh so it would sound like Poohdini, like the great. My Grandma just came up with the name ‘Pooh’ it’s like Winnie the Pooh bear, so it just stuck with me my whole life.
Well, according to Bleacher Report the ‘Great Poohdini’ is not so great at all; as they ranked it one of the 25 worst tattoos in NBA HISTORY! Ouch. Here’s what BR had to say about poor Poohdini.
The story behind the idea is quite genuine, but the portrait of the wizard—or whatever he is supposed to be—on his shoulder is downright creepy.
There had to be a million other directions he could have taken this idea. Any concept other than this one probably would have been good enough.
What’s surprising is this came when Rose was still the reigning NBA MVP, not after the injuries, letdowns, misleading ad campaigns, and failed returns. Meaning there were still a lot more Rose lovers than haters. Apparently there’s no room for apologists in the tattoo rating game.
Ironically, when explaining his tattoos, Rose speaks about his “only God can judge me” tattoo immediately after detailing “Poohdini.”
Honestly (not that anyone cares about my opinion) finding out it was a wizard and not the grim reaper actually made me like the tattoo more. But that’s coming from a nerd for Arthurian legend, Merlin, and all that other lame sh*t.
As for eight of the other nine tattoos, Rose talks about the inspiration behind each one in this video done by Mouthpiece Sports. Rose has had the majority of his work done by South Side custom tattoo parlor, Shred’s Inferno.
His latest tattoo, a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King praying, was not done until earlier this year; after the video was made.
In case you don’t want to sit through a six minute video, here’s a full gallery featuring all of Derrick’s tattoos and his reasons behind having them done.
Sweet Home Chicago
He got this tattoo because, duh, he’s from Chicago.
Trivia question- Who wrote the original rendition of the famous city anthem “Sweet Home Chicago”?
Answer- Blues artist Robert Johnson circa 1937.
Brenda Rose (Right Hand)
It’s somewhat difficult to see, but on his right hand there is a rose with the name Brenda inscribed over it.
Brenda Rose, his mother.
Rose says she teared up after driving out to her house to show her the tattoo for the first time. Then proceeded to show it off to her friend, who was also present, out of joy and appreciation.
Only God Can Judge Me
Rose’s first tattoo he got as a Junior in high school.
He and his family are very religious, given that, this one is self explanatory on the surface. More specifically, given Chicago’s rich basketball history, Rose got it knowing that good or bad, the city’s residents would always have their own two cents regarding his performance. So in essence the tattoo is to remind him not to read into what anyone else has to say because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
Baby in Angel’s Hands
This tattoo is unfinished because in his own words, the pain Rose experienced was “the worst pain a person could ever go through.” He claims he could barely stand up for two days after getting this original outline on his stomach.
Eventually he would like words and clouds added to it.
Rose cites his family’s humble nature and respect for life in choosing this tattoo on his back.
Die-hard Chicago fans should know how important Derrick’s family is to him. His inner circle is notoriously close.
And we all love hearing from Reggie!
Englewood All Star
Rose says he got these during his college days at Memphis to commemorate the south side Chicago neighborhood he hails from, Englewood. With the catalyst being the home sick feeling he experienced away from the Windy City.