Tattoo Advertising Could Be Next in NBA

ByABC News
March 21, 2001, 10:16 AM

March 21 -- A typical night of NBA action is crammed with more tattoos thanan aircraft carrier's worth of sailors.

There are skulls, flaming crosses, wizards, swords, serpents,stars and sunbursts, hundreds of yards of barbed wire, mothers,girlfriends, wives, siblings and offspring, not to mentionSuperman, Mighty Mouse, Fred Flintstone and endless variations onthe devil himself.

(And all this without Dennis Rodman.)

But soon, something much more shocking could be coming to abiceps near you: "This Space For Sale."

Agent Curious About Creative Offer

A candy company recently approached the agent for Portland'sRasheed Wallace and inquired about buying space on what is alreadya crowded billboard of human flesh.

"My job is to bring offers to my client's attention," agent Bill Strickland said Tuesday from his office in Washington, D.C. "I toss out the ones I think are ludicrous. I thought this one was creative we talked about the kind of tattoo that lasts only so long and being a lawyer, I think it presented some interesting free-speech issues."

Wallace is a curious choice, to say the least. 'Sheed alreadysports more artwork than you'd find at most starving-artist hotelliquidation sales. On top of that, he only makes it to the end ofso many games. As of Tuesday night, when Wallace tied thesingle-season record for technical fouls (38) he set just lastyear, he'd already been ejected a league-high six times.

But that's beside the point.

Money Talks

The real issues are whether the ballplayers are mercenary enoughto wedge corporate logos onto the available space alongside lovedones, and what the league is going to do about it.

About the first part, there's no doubt. When it comes tomercenary, the Hessians could learn a lesson from today'ssuperstars. Their spiritual godfather is former Yankee slugger ReggieJackson, who, embroiled in a salary squabble, told skepticalreporters that he was serious about a threat to play baseball inJapan.