#BBCtrending: Tattoos taken to the next smiley faced level :-)

  • 24 April 2014
Image copyright Black Sport Online

Athletes are not renowned for their fear of garish tattoos. From the Olympic rings on Michael Phelps's bicep to religious iconography on David Beckham's torso, sports stars have a long and intertwined history with the tattooist's needle.

But basketball star Mike Scott has just taken it to the next smiley faced level. The Atlanta Hawks power forward has been snapped sporting a sleeve of Emojis. While NBA players are famously no strangers to a spot of body ink, Scott seems to be the first player to display the characters of this very modern phenomenon.

Thousands of messages have appeared on social media as pictures of the ball player's new ink spread. On Twitter from the west coast of the US, to Europe and Japan, people have been talking about Scott's new decorations. But not all have been flattering. Kam Pashai tweeted: Apple is one update away from making Mike Scott's tattoo's obsolete.

Image copyright Thinkstock

Is it fair to describe Scott's latest tattoos as a passing craze? Jeff Blagdon, author of How Emoji Conquered The World thinks no one should be surprised by Scott's ink. "Emojis are embedded in pop culture now. His tattoos are no more surprising than someone getting a Nike tick or music band drawn on themselves. Personally, I love the Tengu on his shoulder. "

Emojis have been around since the late 1990's and were originally inspired by a combination of Manga cartoons and street signs. Scott E. Fahlman was the first person to use a smiley face symbol in 1982. "When we started we used it as a fun way of saying no kidding," professor Fahlman tells BBC Trending. "The new emojis are ugly!" But does he like Scott's new tattoos? "I like them as much as his others," he chuckles.

Image copyright Valerio Pennicino
Image caption David Beckham has an array of tattoos

Among the comments on social media, Lamzana summed it up like this: "Mike Scott is 6'8" and 237 pounds. So if you want someone to tell him his emoji tattoos are stupid, you're going to have to do it yourself."

Reporting by David Lewis