We all have ways of showing our support for our athletes, whether it’s going to games to see them live, wearing their jerseys or backing them in your sports bet. However, some fans go to the extreme to show their appreciation by getting a tattoo.
Getting a tattoo is a big commitment and is something that will likely stay with you for the rest of your life. So getting your favorite athlete inked on your body can be the perfect way of showing just how much you admire them.
That’s why we wanted to find out which players have inspired the most tattoos. We’ve analyzed Instagram posts to find out which players have the most dedicated fans.
The Athletes That Have Inspired the Most Tattoos
We’ve looked at multiple athletes to find out the athlete which is inspiring the most tattoos.
1. Lionel Messi – 9,863 Instagram posts
Lionel Messi inspired the most tattoos with almost 10,000 Instagram posts. Messi has always been considered one of the best players of all time and his World Cup victory with Argentina did nothing but strengthen his status as one of the greatest. Images of him with the World Cup were the main inspiration as people tattooed their bodies to honor his and his country’s achievement.
2. Kobe Bryant – 7,260 Instagram posts
In second place is Kobe Bryant with over 7,000 Instagram posts. The unfortunate death of Kobe Bryant shocked the sporting community all over the world. Bryant passed away in a helicopter crash at the age of 41, inspiring many tattoos to honor his decorated career. Bryant is still considered one of the best basketball players of all time, with five NBA Championships and 18 All-Star Appearances.
3. Diego Maradona – 6,107 Instagram posts
Another World Cup-winning Argentinian completes our top three, this time it’s Diego Maradona with over 6,000 Instagram posts. Maradona is also considered to be one of the best soccer players of all time. Like Messi, he captained Argentina to a World Cup victory at the 1986 World Cup, where he won the Golden Ball, honoring him as the tournament’s best player.
The NFL Stars That Have Inspired the Most Tattoos
The NFL has a rich history of superstars, but which players have the most dedicated fans?
1. Tom Brady – 80 Instagram posts
Tom Brady is the NFL player who has inspired the most tattoos with 80 Instagram posts. It’s no surprise either. Despite announcing his retirement, albeit for the second time, his legacy will only continue, and likely inspire more tattoos in the future. The quarterback has won more Super Bowls than any other NFL player, with a total of seven to his name. The 45-year-old spent the majority of his career at the New England Patriots, before spending his final seasons at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
2. Walton Payton – 15 Instagram posts
Walton Payton takes second place with 15 Instagram posts. Payton spent all 12 years of his career at the Chicago Bears, where he earned himself the nickname ‘Sweetness’ due to his caring reputation. Payton won one Super Bowl and made the Pro Bowl team nine times as he established himself as one of the best in the game.
3. Odell Beckham Jr/Aaron Rodgers – 10 Instagram posts
Third place is shared between Odell Beckham Jr and Aaron Rodgers who both had ten Instagram posts. Despite his talent, OBJ has struggled with injuries and found himself without a team due to his reluctance to sign a short-term contract. However, at 30 years old, you’d have to imagine there’s still plenty of fuel left in the tank.
Aaron Rodgers has spent his entire career at the Green Bay Packers, and his time here has been nothing short of a success. The 39-year-old has been voted MVP on four occasions, winning the Super Bowl once. The quarterback has also been in the Pro Bowl team ten times.
The NBA Stars That Have Inspired the Most Tattoos
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, filled with some incredible athletes in the sport’s history. That’s why we wanted to find out which of those athletes inspired the most tattoos.
1. Kobe Bryant – 7,260 Instagram posts
Kobe Bryant’s total of 7,260 Instagram posts earns him the top spot in our list. Bryant’s 20-year career was spent at the LA Lakers where he accumulated over 33,000 points, averaging 25 points a game. Bryant was the NBA Scoring Champion in 2006 and 2007 where he registered points per game averages of 31.6 and 35.4 respectively.
2. Michael Jordan – 1,374 Instagram posts
Michael Jordan takes second place with 1,374 Instagram posts. Michael Jordan is also considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Jordan won six NBA Championships during his successful career and made the All-Star team 14 times.
3. LeBron James – 526 Instagram posts
Completing our top three is LeBron James with 525 Instagram posts. James has played for three teams and won an NBA Championship at each of those clubs. He has also made the All-Star team every year since 2005.
The Soccer Players That Have Inspired the Most Tattoos
With soccer being the global game it is, we wanted to find out which players inspired the most tattoos.
1. Lionel Messi – 9,863 Instagram posts
Lionel Messi of course takes the top spot once again. Messi’s total number of posts was over 3,000 more than any other soccer player. The 35-year-old is in his second season at PSG, where he is in great form. In 22 games, the Argentine has registered 27 goal contributions.
2. Diego Maradona – 6,107 Instagram posts
Diego Maradona’s total of 6,107 Instagram posts earns him second place in our list of soccer stars. Maradona’s World Cup victory in Mexico wasn’t the only reason he made history. The Argentine’s second goal against England in the semi-final was voted goal of the century in 2002. However, In the same game, his first goal was more controversial. Maradona illegally used his hand to score, an action that was not seen by the referees. This goal was nicknamed “the hand of God” and will forever be one of the most controversial goals in soccer’s history.
3. Neymar – 2,191 Instagram posts
Completing our top three is Neymar Jr, with over 2,000 Instagram posts. The Brazilian superstar became the most expensive player in soccer history when he joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona for over €200 million. Neymar is regarded as one of the best players in the world and is one of just three players to score more than 100 goals for three different clubs.
To get our seeding list, we looked at notable sporting moments, as well as some of the most successful athletes in the game. We used Wolf Sports, Business Insider, The Express and Star, BBC, and Bleacher Report for UK and US sporting moments.
We also used YouGov for notable athletes in the UK and US, as well as Forbes for some of the highest-paid athletes.
We then used Instagram and searched for the athlete’s name followed by the word “tattoo”. Searches included full names, nicknames, and surnames. We then took the number of posts for the search which returned the highest number.
Data is accurate as of 01.02.2023.