Sens' Kelly: Tattoos can be a 'team building thing'

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:10 PM ET


Once upon a time, saying a team was "tattooed last night" just meant it had suffered a lopsided loss.

Now it's also in reference to boys going down to local parlour together to become men.

Yes, getting tattoos is often very much a group effort -- especially in junior hockey.

"For awhile there, everyone was getting them ... I don't know too many guys who don't have one," says Senators centre Chris Kelly, who has had his back patted with the permanent drawing of a sun.

"It can be a team-building thing, something nice to look back on if you win a Memorial Cup or a Stanley Cup."

Montreal Canadiens defenceman Sheldon Souray also was tattooed early and often.

"When you're in juniors, it's a macho thing to do or something," said Souray, who owns five pieces of body art. "It's kind of your initiation into getting into the league."

Many athletes get tattoos as a way of proudly proclaiming who they are. Souray, a native of a settlement in Alberta called Fishing Lake, is proud of his heritage.

"Some of the native symbols have always appealed to me," he said. "I think when you get tattoos, they're supposed to mean something to you."

Many others have the names of their children or spouses.

Dwayne Douglas Johnson -- aka The Rock -- is a Taurus who wears a Brahma bull tattoo on his right biceps. One of the biggest star the squared circle has ever known also has a large Polynesian-style tattoo done on his upper left arm as a way of paying homage to his ethnic heritage.

Mike Tyson says his tattoos, which feature the likes of tennis star and civil rights leader Arthur Ashe, revolutionist Che Guevera and Chinese military and political leader Mao Zedong, are powerful personal totems. He also wears a controversial Maori-inspired facial tattoo.

Among Stephon Marbury's tattoos is a a heart with the word's "Coney Island's Finest" written on top.

"When I got that I was like the first person out of Coney Island to turn pro," he says.

He also has a panther standing on the top of a mountain, which he got when he was 13, and a Mont Blanc pen trail with his family's names scripted around his arm.

"My tattoos revolve around my life," says the New York Knicks guard. "I think tattoos are something that tell who you are and how you feel."


Videos

Photos