In a recent turn of events, the NBA has announced that Charlotte Hornets’ star player, LaMelo Ball, will be required to cover up a tattoo on his body that is in violation of the league’s rules against displaying commercial logos during games. The tattoo, which reads “LF” for LaFrance, is not only Ball’s middle name, but also the name of his clothing brand.
NBA Implements Tattoo Policy Enforcement on Hornets’ LaMelo Ball; ‘LF’ Ink Mandate Cited
According to sources close to Ball, the league’s policy against displaying commercial logos on players’ bodies has been infrequently enforced in the past. However, after discussions between Ball and the NBA, he has begun covering the tattoo to avoid any fines from the league.
In a statement to ESPN, NBA spokesman Tim Frank stated that the league tries to enforce the rule reasonably, but that Ball’s neck tattoo is in clear violation and must be covered. Ball has argued that the initials represent his own middle name and that of a family member, his uncle. He has been using the LF initials for a long time, even before it became a brand.
The NBA has told LaMelo Ball that he must cover up a tattoo on his neck that reads "LF." The NBA has a rule that says players cannot have tattoos that are considered to be commercial advertisements. Ball's tattoo is for his clothing line, which is called LaFrancé.
— Filipino online sportsbook (@FilipinoL52299) November 18, 2023
Interestingly, the NBA has also cited past players who have had corporate logos on their bodies, such as for Jordan Brand, Michelin, and Warner Brothers. However, the league has pointed out that those players did not have endorsement partnerships with those companies, unlike Ball.
This is not the first time a Ball brother has been asked to cover up a tattoo. In 2018, Lonzo Ball was required to cover a “Big Baller Brand” tattoo. LaMelo, on the other hand, was recently named the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year and made his first All-Star team in 2022. He also signed a lucrative five-year extension in the offseason.
This issue between Ball and the NBA is still ongoing, with discussions about short- and long-term resolutions expected to continue. In the meantime, Ball will continue to cover the tattoo during games to comply with the league’s rules. It remains to be seen if this will have any impact on his performance on the court, as he is currently averaging impressive numbers for the Hornets this season.
In the ever-changing landscape of professional sports, it is important for players to abide by league rules and regulations, even if they may seem unconventional at times. As for Ball, he will have to find a way to express himself without violating the NBA’s policy against displaying commercial logos on players’ bodies.