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J.R. Smith says he’ll cover up logo tattoo on leg to avoid fines

J.R. Smith says he’ll cover up a controversial tattoo on his calf that ran afoul of the NBA to avoid turning over money to the league in fines.

“I’m not giving them money that could go to my kids,” Smith told ESPN ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason game on Tuesday night. “I was looking into (my rights), but the players’ association just texted me, and you know what? I’m not going to put money in their pockets. Not a chance.”

Smith claims he has no affiliation nor does he have an endorsement deal with the company.

“It was just something that I wanted to do,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of other things going on in this world (the league) could be worried about besides a tattoo, but it’s their league. They can do what they want.”

The Cavaliers star revealed over the weekend on Instagram that the NBA notified him that the tattoo, a logo for New York-based apparel brand Supreme, violated league policy and would have to be covered up during games.


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“So I was informed today that I would be fined every game if I don’t cover up my ‘SUPREME TATTOO’ on my legs during games!!” Smith wrote in the post. “These people in the league office are something else!”

ESPN’s Darren Rovell previously reported that league spokesperson Mike Bass confirmed Smith’s tattoo qualified as a policy violation.

“NBA rules prohibit players from displaying any commercial logos or corporate insignia on their body or in their hair,” Bass told Rovell.

It merits noting that Smith is not the first NBA player who has experienced league pushback due to unconventional corporate branding. Smith’s former Cavs teammate Iman Shumpert was compelled in 2013 to remove an Adidas logo shaved into his hair.