Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball is one of the most recognizable stars in the NBA. Unfortunately, he will need to change one part of his appearance after an NBA ruling on Friday.
Ball has the initials “LF” tattooed right below his left ear, which is short for his middle name LaFrance. He then decided to use that name for his clothing brand.
According to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA has ruled that this goes against league policy that bars players from exposing commercial logos on their bodies.
Wojnarowski added that Ball has had conversations over the past several weeks regarding the tattoo, to no success. He has been covering up the tattoo since Tuesday’s game against the Miami Heat and is expected to continue to cover it up for Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank issued a statement to ESPN on the matter, saying that the league “tries to enforce the rule reasonably”, but Ball’s tattoo is viewed as an “obvious violation”.
“Per the [collective bargaining agreement], players are prohibited from displaying commercial logos or corporate insignia on their body or in their hair during games. We try to enforce the rule reasonably, in accordance with its purpose, and taking into account players’ efforts to express themselves in a non-commercial manner. But LaMelo Ball’s neck tattoo is in obvious violation of the rule and, accordingly, he’s required to cover it.”
Considering the tattoo seemingly has some meaning to him as it is the initials for his middle name, fans clearly believe that the NBA should make an exception to the rule in this case.
Announcing this 3 hours before the NBA allows Miles Bridges to play next to Ball is wild. Is the NBA PR department on drugs? https://t.co/3FkuPKUosa
— Alex Rikleen (@Rikleen) November 17, 2023
Great work from the NBA here as nobody knew about this tattoo and it's meaning until now. Really nailed that one guys https://t.co/RkdkaqPNvp
— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) November 17, 2023
(Nobody besides a few Hornets fans would’ve known that the LF on his neck that’s barely noticeable on TV is for his clothing brand before this was issued) https://t.co/BA3wzaqR9u
— Israel (@iohandles) November 17, 2023
the new version of when they said jordan couldn’t wear those shoes and then the shoes got so much more popular than if they’d have just let him wear the shoes lol https://t.co/SUvi4UpSUX
— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) November 17, 2023
Coming after a Hornets player for this, when a certain other Hornets player is set tor return…
Dumb, stupid league. https://t.co/8g21ntgsTe
— Mark K (@mkhoops) November 17, 2023
If anything, this decision coming from the NBA will likely make Ball’s clothing brand even more popular.
LaMelo Ball isn’t the only member of his talented family to have this happen to him. The league also required Lonzo Ball to cover a “Big Baller Brand” tattoo in 2018.