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PHOTOS: Thunder center Steven Adams adds Polynesian tattoo to his right forearm

by Anthony Slater Published: June 17, 2014
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Back in 2005, when Chris Birdman Anderson was part of the Oklahoma City Hornets, he was already quirky.

But his now tattoo-filled body was just in the early stages of its first coat of arm paint:

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets NBA basketball player Chris "Birdman" Andersen poses for a photo with Lorikeets in the Lorikeet exhibit at the Oklahoma City Zoo, October 11, 2005 in Oklahoma City. By Nate Billings/The Oklahoman
New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets NBA basketball player Chris "Birdman" Andersen poses for a photo with Lorikeets in the Lorikeet exhibit at the Oklahoma City Zoo, October 11, 2005 in Oklahoma City. By Nate Billings/The Oklahoman

He was 26 then. This is him just a few years later, looking like he had a bad run-in with a box of crayons:

All this to say that, while the arc of an NBA player’s career depends on their on-court growth, their physical appearance also changes as they mature.

And not all of that is natural. Tattoos are popular. And Steven Adams, the Thunder’s 20-year-old rising center, is adding to his collection.

Back in his home country of New Zealand, Adams recently surrounded the ‘Funaki’ tattoo on his right forearm with a large Polynesian tattoo, paying homage to his Tongan and Maori roots.

Here he is with the tattoo artist, Tuigamala Andy Tauafiafi, in a photo he posted on Twitter.

 

“What we did represented family, strength and protection,” Tauafiafi, the tattoo artist, told The New Zealand Herald. “With any Polynesian or Maori culture, those are the main things. I guess it’s to keep him grounded and have the support with him – not in body, but in spirit.”

On a scale of 1 to Birdman and Robert Swift, Adams’ new tattoo puts him at about a 1.5. And this fresh ink seems to have some deep meaning. But as his promising career unfolds, it’ll be interesting to see how much more ink he adds.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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