Summer 2024

Philadelphia 76ers sharpshooter J.J. Redick's tattoos keep him focused on God

NBA sharpshooter J.J. Redick doesn’t always talk about his faith, but the evidence of it is tattooed all over his body. In a 2015 interview with the NBA A to Z podcast, Redick explained what his giant tattoo sleeve — which covers his left arm from shoulder to wrist — means.

“It’s the four evangelical symbols of the Gospel,” Redick said. “So there’s Matthew who’s a winged man, Mark is a winged lion, Luke is a winged ox, and John is an eagle. Each animal kind of represents a different characteristic of Christianity. It turned out great. Tattoos aren’t for everybody, I get that. But again this is something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years.”

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The image is one of several Scripture-themed tattoos Redick has. On his left forearm is a tattoo related to the first three verses of Psalm 40: “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.”

And on Redick’s is stomach is a tattoo that simply reads “Isaiah 40:31,” which says, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Redick was one of the most hated college players in the NCAA coming out of Duke in 2006, and had a series of moments he acknowledges as being poor decisions. Redick told the Los Angeles Times that his life began to change in 2008, when he re-focused his faith.

“I was always a believer,” Redick said, “but I sort of became an adult Christian, if that makes sense.”

Redick has played for several teams in the NBA, most recently landing with the Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently battling the Raptors for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. Redick is averaging 30.1 minutes and 13.7 points a game during this 2019 playoff run, coming off a regular season in which he averaged a career-high 18.1 points and 31.3 minutes. Best known as a lights-out shooter, he averaged a career-high 3.2 3-pointers per game this season, and he boasts a 41.3 3-point shooting percentage over his career.

Redick says the reason for his tattoos are to keep this career success in perspective.

“I didn’t get tattoos so other people would say, ‘Oh, J.J.’s got tattoos. He’s got a basketball on his arm that says King of the Court,’ or something like that,” Redick told ESPN. “I got a tattoo for me. It’s a constant reminder, every day, of what God has done and what He will do in my life.”

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