A Guide To 17 LeBron James Tattoos and What They Mean
LeBron James is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The four-time NBA Champion has done it all in the game and won just about every award there is. Kicking off his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, “King James” has also played for the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, where he is currently based.
Along with being one of the greats thanks to his exceptional skills on the court, LeBron is also known for his eye-catching tattoos. Each tattoo adorning his body tells a unique story, reflecting his personal journey and the values that have shaped him into the athlete and philanthropist he is today. That’s why we’ve decided to dive into 17 LeBron James tattoos and discover what they mean to the basketball legend.
James’ tattoos serve as a visual narrative, offering a glimpse into his life and the people who have influenced him. Many of the tattoos on his body are dedicated to important people who have helped shape him during his life, including his mother, Gloria James, wife Savannah James, and three children Bronny James, Bryce James, and Zhuri James.
In addition to personal tributes, LeBron’s tattoos also reflect his passions, beliefs, and commitment to social justice and advocacy. LeBron is both a leader on the court and off it and has used his unique position in the spotlight to support those less fortunate, starting the LeBron James Family Foundation in 2004.
LeBron James’ tattoos not only make a bold statement but also provide a glimpse into his personal and professional life. From tributes to his loved ones to symbols of strength and social activism, each tattoo represents a chapter in his life story. As LeBron continues to make his mark on and off the basketball court, his tattoos serve as a constant reminder of the values and experiences that have shaped him into the legendary figure he is today.
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1. “Chosen 1” Tattoo
Across the top of his back, LeBron James has “Chosen 1” inked in large letters. This tattoo references LeBron’s first cover story in the 2002 February 18 issue of the famed sports magazine Sports Illustrated. As part of the article, LeBron was hailed as “The Chosen One,” a nickname he fully embraced. So much so that he decided to get it tattooed on his back.
2. “Beast” Tattoo
On his upper left arm, LeBron James has the word “Beast” tattooed. While there isn’t much information floating around about why he has this tattoo or when he got it, considering how much of a beast he is on the court, it’s probably got to do with his prowess with the ball.
The Los Angeles Laker also has the phrase “Hold My Own” tattooed below the word “Beast.”
3. “Witness” Tattoo
You may have noticed LeBron James has tattoos all over his body, including his legs. On his right calf is the word “Witness.” Why you ask? He got the tattoo after a successful run during the NBA playoffs in 2006, the first time the Cavs had made the finals since 1998.
Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, shoemaker Nike used the word as part of a marketing campaign that included several successful commercials that no doubt help sold a few shoes.
4. “What We Do In Life Echos In Eternity” Tattoo
While he has admitted to being a big fan of The Godfather movies, it’s safe to say LeBron James also enjoys watching Russell Crowe’s Gladiator. On his right arm he has the words “What we do in life,” and on his left arm “Echos in eternity,” which is a famous quote from the historical epic.
Crowe’s Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius prepares his troops for battle against the Germanic tribes with a spine-tingling speech that ends with him saying the line, “Brothers, what we do in life… echoes in eternity.” This obviously had an impact on LeBron, who decided to get the phrase tattooed on his body.
5. Lion With Crown Tattoo
Much like a lion, LeBron James is an apex predator who dominates all those he comes across. To reflect this, the four-time NBA Finals MVP has the head of a lion inked on his right bicep. This was the first arm tattoo LeBron got and one that he has added to over the years, getting the word “King” tattooed above the lion and the word “James” below, with King James also being one of the basketballer’s nicknames.
6. “303” Tattoo
Getting the area code of your hometown has become a thing these days. LeBron is one of many famous people to get this type of tattoo. His reads “303,” which is the area code of his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Located on his right forearm, James got the tattoo sometime before his fourth season in the NBA.
7. “Gloria” Tattoo
LeBron credits his mom for much of his success, so it’s no surprise he has her name inked on his body. The tattoo is located just above the lion tattoo on his right arm.
8. Bronny James Portrait Tattoo
To celebrate the first birthday of his son Bronny James, the King got a portrait of his firstborn on the inside of his left forearm.
9. Bryce Maximus Tattoo
This is the name of LeBron’s second child who the NBA superstar has tattooed on his right forearm. Unlike his older brother Bronny, who LeBron got a portrait of, only Bryce’s name appears on his father’s body. Obviously not the favorite son then…
10. Initials Tattoo
The Lakers great has his own initials tattooed on his body. The letter “L” can be found on his left tricep and the letter “J” on his right tricep. It’s always a ballsy move to get your own initials inked on your body, but if you can live up to expectations like LeBron has, then it’s such a power move.
11. “Family” and “Loyalty” Tattoos
In what must have been a painful session at the tattoo parlor, LeBron James has the word “Family” running down the right side of his torso. On the left side, he has the word “Loyalty,” with both tatts written in the same font style.
It’s assumed these tattoos represent how much LeBron’s family means to him and the loyalty they have to each other.
12. “Est 1984” Tattoo
Getting a tattoo that celebrates your birthday is something LeBron shares with many ink loves. Mac Miller and Shia LaBeouf are two other well-known celebrities who also have their date of birth or the year they were born inked on them. LeBron’s is located on his left shoulder and reads “Est 1984.”
13. Lion Tattoo
Not content with having just the head of a lion, LeBron went all out and got an entire lion tattooed across his chest. But this isn’t any ordinary lion, as it has wings. In Christianity, Saint Mark is symbolized as a winged lion, with the image also a symbol of the city of Venice.
LeBron, a known Christian, most likely got this tattoo due to his faith, although there is a small section of conspiracy theorists who believe the tattoo is the symbol for the Boule Group, a secretive society of elite black men
14. “Akron” Tattoo
As well as having the area code of his city, James has his hometown, “Akron,” tattooed on his right shoulder. It’s a bold tattoo paying homage to the town where he grew up and became a star.
15. “History” Tattoo
Although he got this tattoo in 2010, four years after his “Witness” tattoo, it is inked in the same font and makes for a companion piece. It can be found on his left calf and is another tattoo referencing his greatness in the sport of basketball.
16. Kobe Bryant Tribute Tattoo
Kobe Bryant is another legendary basketballer whose life was tragically cut short on January 26, 2020, when he, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, six family friends, and the pilot died in a helicopter crash. Bryant’s death shocked the world and the outpouring of grief from those that played with and against him was immense.
LeBron was one of many who admired Bryant and was lucky enough to be able to call him a friend. Just days after his passing he paid tribute to the Lakers legend with a tattoo of a black mamba, also the nickname of Bryant. The tattoo also includes the number 24, Braynt’s jersey number, along with the phrase “Mamba 4 Life.”
17. Birds Tattoo
There isn’t much known about this tattoo of a couple of birds LeBron has on his right bicep. It’s not one of his most widely known pieces of ink but is still an interesting addition to his collection of tattoos. He also has a tattoo of flames running up his right arm that has never been explained.
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