John Wall’s new chest tattoo explained


(Photo by Bruce Ely; used with permission.)

When John Wall was still a teenager, he asked his mother whether he could get a portrait of his late father, John Carroll Wall, tattooed on his chest. His mother said no.

So Wall decided he would wait. Before his rookie season in Washington, the Wizards point guard told The Post’s Michael Lee that if he ever got a tattoo, it would probably be of his father, on his chest. He said the same thing to The Post’s Eric Prisbell:

Wall has declined to get tattoos because of concerns over his image for marketing reasons, but he is considering getting one on his chest, considering it strongly enough that he has a specific design in mind. It would be of his dad’s face, with clouds surrounding, and the words “Forever Living On.”

Of course, Wall began getting tattoos last summer. He got a star in the middle of his chest, and a tribute to his mother above one breast. He got the words “Great Wall” — made out of bricks — on his back, and has gotten various other ink on his torso and legs.

This offseason, though, he finally got the tattoo of his father on his chest, the one image he had repeatedly talked about before entering the NBA, and before getting his first tattoo.

“And now I’m happy,” Wall told Lee last month in Las Vegas. “I got my mom, my sisters on my mom’s side, and my dad. I got everybody around my heart that I care about.”

Wall got the tattoo of his father a few days before he went to Vegas for Team USA tryouts. He said it took longer than expected to finally get that image because he had to bring a hard copy of his father’s portrait to his tattoo artist, the Georgia-based Randy Harris of Tattoos by Randy.

The tattoo took four or five hours to complete; about two hours on each face. Wall said he just listened to music while Harris worked.

“You got to make it so perfect, because any little mistake could mess it up and then you’ll be like, ‘Now I got to get it removed.’ ” Wall told Lee. “I was sitting back and letting him be as focused as he could be on there.”

Wall’s chest tattoos were photographed by Bruce Ely, a Portland-based photographer who specializes in sports photography. The Wall shoot was part of a project in which Ely is documenting tattoos in the NBA; you can see more at his Web site and on his blog.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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