The NBA banned the tattoo and issued an order: The player must wear a patch over it

Namely, Lamelo has the initials "LF" tattooed under his left ear - shortened from "LaFrance", which is his middle name and now a fashion brand

by Sededin Dedovic
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The NBA banned the tattoo and issued an order: The player must wear a patch over it
© Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images

LaMelo Ball is having an exceptional season with the Charlotte Hornets, averaging an impressive 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game. However, his recent ink has landed him in water with the NBA. The issue stems from an "LF" tattoo situated below his left ear, which stands for his middle name, "LaFrance." While tattoos are common among NBA players, not all are permitted in the world's premier basketball league.

The Charlotte Hornets player LaMelo Ball will soon feel the effects of this restriction firsthand. Ball must conceal his neck tattoo, even on the court, as it violates NBA regulations. The tattoo's problem lies not in its meaning but in the fact that it also serves as the name of Ball's clothing brand.

NBA rules prohibit players from displaying commercial logos on their bodies, effectively barring them from endorsing brands. This situation is not the first time a member of the Ball family has faced such scrutiny. In 2018, Lamelo's older brother, Lonzo, was forced to conceal his "Big Baller Brand" tattoo, the logo of the sporting goods company founded by their father, due to similar NBA regulations.

NBA players are strictly prohibited from displaying corporate logos on their bodies or hair during games. The league has previously requested that players hide brands such as "Jordan," "Michelin," and "Warner Brothers," and in 2018, Lamelo's brother Lonzo was required to conceal the "Big Baller Brand" tattoo.

The NBA's stance on tattoos has been the subject of debate in recent years. Some argue that the league's restrictions infringe on players' freedom of expression, while others contend that they are necessary to maintain the integrity of the game and prevent players from endorsing brands without permission.

Regardless of one's stance on the issue, it is clear that LaMelo Ball's tattoo has caused a stir within the NBA. It remains to be seen whether the league will ultimately force him to remove the tattoo or find a compromise that allows him to keep it.

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