The Charlotte Hornets star has been covering an “LF” tattoo below his left ear during recent games. The initials are short for his middle name, LaFrance, and also the name of his clothing brand.
The NBA prohibits players from displaying commercial logos on their bodies during games.
Ball had conversations with the league about the tattoo and started covering it up prior to Tuesday’s game against the Miami Heat to avoid fines, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. He also reported that Ball’s camp contends that the league’s rule is not strictly enforced.
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“Per the [collective bargaining agreement], players are prohibited from displaying commercial logos or corporate insignia on their body or in their hair during games,” NBA spokesperson Tim Frank said in a statement to ESPN. “We try to enforce the rule reasonably, in accordance with its purpose, and taking into account players' efforts to express themselves in a non-commercial manner. But LaMelo Ball's neck tattoo is in obvious violation of the rule and, accordingly, he's required to cover it.”
Ball has a similar “LF” tattoo on his right hand that has not been covered.