Derrick Favors on Media Day, displaying his unique tattoo

Did You Know That… Derrick Favors may have been destined to play basketball?

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

New Orleans starting center Derrick Favors is considered an “old head,” an uncle-type figure in the Pelicans locker room, a bit more experienced and savvy about basketball and life than many of his young teammates. However, even though he’s a decade into his NBA career, he’s still only 28, having been born in Atlanta on July 15, 1991. That means his first vivid memories of the NBA are from the late 1990s and early 2000s, when a certain future Hall of Fame guard-center tandem was dominating the league in Southern California.

Favors can’t quite recall exactly how old he was when it occurred, but a happenstance discovery as a kid helped spark his interest in hoops.

“I remember walking down the street (in Atlanta) and finding this old basketball book, a children’s book about Kobe Bryant,” said Favors of the Lakers guard who teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to win three straight NBA titles from 2000-02. “I just fell in love with basketball ever since. It was like destiny, pretty much. I still have that book back at home.”

That gut feeling about his future partly explains the incomparable tattoo Favors has on his left arm (pictured above), art that some have described as his “Basketball Jesus” tattoo, depicting Jesus Christ holding a ball.

“I got it when I graduated high school,” Favors said. “My family was very religious, my mom and my grandmother, and that got to me.”

A highly-coveted high school player, Favors stayed local for college, excelling during his one season at Georgia Tech. Based on consensus rankings, he was the No. 1-rated player in the 2009 scholastic class, a year that included future NBA All-Stars such as John Wall (second-ranked), DeMarcus Cousins (third), Kawhi Leonard (48th!) and Khris Middleton (99th). Favors’ rapid ascension as a top player among his age group also factored into his decision to select his tattoo.

“I thought it was destiny that I was going to play basketball,” Favors explained. “So I just got creative, because I wanted to get a tattoo that probably no one else would have. No one would get a tattoo like this, so I decided to get Jesus holding a basketball.”

Stay tuned, because on Media Day, Favors noted that he added a second unique tat during the 2019 offseason. For now, though, the backstory on that is under wraps.

“I recently got another (tattoo) this summer, but I’m not ready to share the story of that one yet,” Favors said, smiling. “I took a trip down to Mexico. It kind of changed my perspective on life a little bit.”

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