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Original Issue

In The Paint

by Andrew Gottlieb
Hyperion, $16.95

Proving that no book idea is too esoteric, Gottlieb gives us a
guided tour of NBA players' tattoos. With minimal text and large
photos, two dozen players explain their body art, with the
Philadelphia 76ers' Alan Iverson commenting on each of his 24. Do
the players' tattoos follow or establish a social trend? Do they
provide symbolic body armor in a trash-talking world? Why have
tattoos become so prevalent over the last 10 years to the point
that it is estimated that more than half the league's players
have them? Don't expect any insight or analysis from the author.
We must be content with Iverson's observation that the tattoos
are simply a form of self-expression or Sacramento Kings guard
Mike Bibby's explanation that doing it is addictive. And lest you
think all this body art means that players just want to have fun
with ink on skin, the number of tattoos that commemorate deceased
friends and relatives is, sadly, high.