Shouldering the Blame

So tat's why the Sixers are still five games below .500

If you’ve been following the Sixers this season—and you should be, considering Doug Collins’s neckwear—you may have noticed something. The team has eight members age 25 or under—and they tend to look even younger because of a startling absence of ink. That’s right: In a league where Chris Anderson preens like a seven-foot peacock, in a city that once heralded A.I.’s extraordinary body of art, most of the present-day Sixers are as pure as choir boys. You could pit the skins vs. the be-needled and have a game of it, with the unblemished Spencer Hawes, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Andres Nocioni lining up against the embellished Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, Lou Williams and Tony Battie.

I’m very fond of the Sixers this year, despite that execrable fourth quarter on Friday against Memphis. (OMG, 11 turnovers in 12 minutes?) They came back suitably on Sunday to whomp the mighty Nuggets (Hello? Carmelo?), demonstrating the upside of running such a bunch of youngsters—they don’t get down on themselves. I do worry, though, that our handsome youths won’t be taken seriously when they play against the likes of the Lakers, who do a lot more cutaneous trash-talking. (For an annotated exploration of Laker tats—Kobe, Lamar Odom, Luke Walton and more—go here ((it’s a couple years old)); for a whirlwind tour of the league’s 50 best—or is that worst? ((Reggie Miller’s belly button?))—click through.) Wouldn’t Evan be a lot more threatening if he sported a pair of grim reapers on his biceps? Thaddeus has a ton of ground that could be covered with lions’ heads and rising suns and arcane initials, and so does Spence. I hereby announce the creation of the “Tattoo You, Too!” fan club. Just tell us the designs you’d like to see our unbesmirched heroes get besmirched with, and we’ll pass your suggestions on, so the guys can face the needle in the off-season. Unless, of course, they’ve promised their moms no tattoos. It’s the only excuse we’ll accept.