J.J. Redick, shooting guard for the Philadelphia Sixers, has a number of visually interesting tattoos, including a large one on his left arm. So when did Redick receive these tattoos, and what do they mean to him?
In a 2015 interview on the NBA A to Z podcast, Redick explained that he started to have this tattoo done after speaking with Adam Levine.
“Random random happening, I ran into Adam Levine this summer in Cabo, we had met years ago,” Redick said. “We were talking about our love of vintage watches and I happened to ask him, ‘Hey who does your tattoos? I really like your tattoos.’ He said this guy in San Francisco, so the guy in San Francisco and I have been talking for the last six months. He flew down over the weekend to do some work on Adam and then him and I sat in a chair yesterday for about five and a half hours and he did the upper part of my sleeve.”
In terms of the tattoo’s meaning, Redick explained that it’s the four evangelical symbols of the Gospel: Matthew, a winged man, Mark, a winged lion, Luke, a winged ox, and John, an eagle.
“Each animal kind of represents a different characteristic of Christianity,” Redick said.
This was not a stock design that the tattoo artist does all the time; rather, Redick says that it was a custom tattoo, and he and the tattoo artist went back and forth for months making adjustments to it.
“He texted me last month and was like ‘Hey man I had a dream about your tattoo’ and went on this long tangent about like, a lion grabbing a chalice from a beast,’ and I was like, ‘okay but we’re going to go in a different direction, alright?’” Redick said in 2015. “But anyway, it turned out great, tattoos aren’t for everybody, I get that. But again this is something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years. I’ve warned my mother over the last six months.”
Redick previously had a song lyric tattooed on his right forearm: “Single book of matches, gonna burn what’s standing in my way,” which is a lyric from the Kings of Leon song “Pyro.” However, this lyric was covered up by the new sleeve tattoo. He said that at least part of the reason he got the sleeve tattoo was because he no longer was a fan of the Kings of Leon lyric tattoo.
“Probably a half truth, half joking, but the tattoo that’s existing on my left forearm I’ve hated since I got it, so it was a way to kind of cover that up to get a whole sleeve,” he told NBA.com in 2015.
On his left forearm, Redick has another tattoo, and this one is also related to the Bible. According to Redick’s Twitter account, it’s the first three verses of Psalm 40: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”
This one isn’t visible during games, but according to ESPN, Redick also has a tattoo on his stomach; this one just says “Isaiah 40:31,” referring to the Bible verse, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Finally, on his chest, Redick has the Japanese word for courage, below which is “Joshua 1:9,” a reference to the Bible verse, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Tattoos are a big part of J.J. Redick’s family, to the point that his grandmother even has one. According to ESPN, while relaxing on vacation with his family in North Carolina, Redick got a tattoo with his grandma, who somewhat randomly said she wanted to get one; she ended up getting a butterfly on her shoulder.