The NBA Tattoo Manifesto Installment 5: Amare Stoudemire
A very merry Christmas to all the readers of the NBA Tattoo Manifesto and the Daily Anything. One of my favorite annual holiday traditions is the full slate of NBA games that David Stern throws at us on Christmas. NBA games starting at noon and ending at bedtime - its a beautiful thing. This year, the Christmas NBA lineup is as follows:
12:00 p.m. - Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks
2:30 p.m. - Boston Celtics @ Orland Magic
5:00 p.m. - Miami Heat @ Los Angeles Lakers
7:30 p.m. - Denver Nuggets @ Oklahoma City Thunder
10:00 p.m. - Golden State Warriors @ Portland Trailblazers
Amare is the first bona fide superstar highlighted by the NBA Tattoo Manifesto, and I must admit that it saddened me to list him as a New York Knickerbocker. As a lifetime Suns fan, I hated to see Amare leave because I knew it would set the franchise back and would probably prevent Nash from getting another chance to win a title. I would say that I wish that Steve Kerr had traded Amare at the deadline, but that run to the Western Conference Finals last year was incredible and it definitely wouldn't have happened without Stoudemire. So I am resigned to the fact that Amare's a Knick, the Suns are an average NBA team again, and this spring I probably won't be cheering for them to win the title - probably just to win a couple of playoff games.
Amare's tattoos are all religious themed, and since this post is coming out the day before we celebrate the birth of Christ, I thought it would be nice to celebrate by poking fun at Amare's unique way of expressing his spirituality.
Exhibit #1: "Black Jesus"
Now I don't want to make generalizations about any specific group of people, but anyone who would tattoo "Black Jesus" on the side of their neck is a pretty likely candidate to be a touch on the arrogant side. Or maybe I'm misinterpreting what Amare's trying to say. Maybe I shouldn't be equaiting "Black Jesus" as meaning that Amare is the African version of Jesus of Nazareth, the savior of the Christian faith. Perhaps he meant the other Jesus, my personal favorite Jesus, John Turturo's character from The Big Lebowski.
"Nobody fucks with the Jesus."
How much of an arrogant pric do you have to be to get a "Black Jesus" tattoo? By doing so, you're basically saying, "You know that guy whose message you all devote your lives to? Well I'm him, reincarnated." Its a bold move, and Amare's not the only NBA player to undertake it. Other NBA players with some version of that tattoo include Brandon Jennings and J.R. Smith. Sweet company, Amare.
Side Note 1: If I were to make a list of rules that I try to live my life by, the following would be near the top:
If at any point you have anything in common with J.R. Smith, you should stop doing that thing.
Or in other words: Don't do as Black Jesus would do.
Side Note 2: Do you think its a coincidence that all three Black Jesuses are offense-only players? Is it a coincidence that they all put up big numbers but are huge liabilities because they refuse to burn any extra calories on the defensive end. I have no evidence to back it up, but I think that there's definitely a correlation here.
Exhibit #2: Star of David
Location: Left Hand
Maybe Amare really is committed to this whole "Black Jesus" thing. After all, Jesus was a Jew and Amare did spend part of the summer in Israel researching scripture and trying to find his Jewish heritage. Amare believes that his mother's side of the family has Jewish lineage, so he went to Israel to get in touch with his inner-Jew. In honor of the trip, Amare had a star of David tattooed on his left hand.
I bet J.R. Smith and Brandon Jennings can't demonstrate that kind of commitment to their "Black Jesus" claims.
Since Amare's trip in July, there has been speculation that the pilgrimage was about trying to establish a Jewish lineage so that Amare could play for the Israeli national team in 2012. Amare debunked those claims, saying "I'm looking forward to playing in the 2012 Olympics ... for Team USA."
Exhibit #3: "Nobody Knows" & Jesus Holding Child
Location: Left Arm
"Nobody Knows" ... what this fucking tattoo means.
My best guess is that "Nobody knows" is a reference to that old song "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen," but what the hell would that have to do with Jesus holding a child? I'm lost on this one.
Side Note: It would have been awesome if Amare had his face drawn in the place of Jesus'. It would have made the tattoos more consistent, and would have confirmed so many of my beliefs.
Exhibit #4: Matthew 20:16
"So the last will be first and the first will be last, for many are called but few chosen." - Matthew 20:16
Its an important portion of Jesus' ministry - Jesus' attempt to welcome Gentiles into his gospel while telling the Jews that simply being Jewish and believing in God isn't enough to earn them eternal life. Its meant to emphasize the hospitality of Jesus' ministry, that its open to all, but that few will be able to meet the demands of following Jesus' teachings.
I also like the fact that Amare took some artistic license with the tattoo by adding "God blessed the child that can hold his own" below the bible verse. Nothin' like streetin' up the gospel verse with a good ol' fashioned nugget of urban wisdom.
Instead of Matthew 20:16, Amare should have just put "me". After all, he is the Black Jesus.