NBA requires Hornets star LaMelo Ball to cover ‘LF’ tattoo on his neck because it violates league rules against players sporting brand logos

  • Hornets All-Star LaMelo Ball has been ordered to cover a tattoo by the NBA
  • A league spokesperson says the tattoo violates the league’s rules against brand logos
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Charlotte Hornets All-Star LaMelo Ball must cover up a tattoo due to the NBA’s rules against players displaying brand logos on their bodies.

Ball tattooed “LF” on his neck, below his left ear. According to ESPNthe initials stand for ‘LaFrance’, his middle name and clothing brand.

The third-year guard covered the tattoo on Tuesday during a game against Miami.

But while Ball is currently complying with the league’s wishes, ESPN reports that the matter is expected to be discussed between himself and the league.

In the meantime, NBA spokesman Tim Frank released a statement clarifying the purpose of the rule.

Charlotte Hornets All-Star LaMelo Ball is ordered to cover a tattoo by the NBA

Ball’s tattoo (left) didn’t become visible until November 12, but he’s covering it up now (right)

“Under the collective bargaining agreement, players are prohibited from displaying commercial logos or corporate insignia on their bodies or in their hair during play,” Frank’s statement said.

“We seek to enforce the rule in a reasonable manner, consistent with its purpose, and taking into account players’ efforts to express themselves in a non-commercial manner. But LaMelo Ball’s neck tattoo clearly violates the rule, so he is required to cover it up.”

Ball reportedly has a similar tattoo on his left hand, but the league is apparently less concerned with that.

ESPN also reports that other players will be allowed to keep their brand tattoos uncovered — body art featuring Jordan Brand, Michelin and Warner Bros. logos.

The NBA told ESPN that the players in question do not have endorsement deals with those respective brands.

In 2018, Ball’s brother Lonzo similarly had to cover a “Big Baller Brand” tattoo representing the family’s clothing company.