Memphis Grizzlies Celebrate James Johnson's Ink with Tattoo Night

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2014

Dec 30, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies power forward James Johnson (3) before the game against the Chicago Bulls at FedEx Forum. Chicago Bulls beat the Memphis Grizzlies 95 - 91. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

When the Memphis Grizzlies called James Johnson up from the D-League in December, they likely didn't anticipate honoring him with a "tattoo night" two months later.

But the versatile forward has been so solid for the Grizzlies off the bench that the team has decided to do just that later this month.

According to a report from ESPN's Darren Rovell:

The first 5,000 fans into the team's Feb. 21 home game against the Los Angeles Clippers will receive a clear sticker with the word "GRIZZLIES" to go on their neck in celebration of one of Memphis' newest surprises, forward James Johnson.

The Grizzlies took to Twitter to share just how the faux tattoos will look:

The inspiration is a tattoo on Johnson's neck, which reads, "NAYMIN 3.9.13", and is in remembrance of the birth of his son, who was born six weeks early.

According to Rovell, Johnson said of the day his son was born, "Life changed for me after that. Life wasn't about only me anymore. After that day, the head on my shoulders was different from what it was before."

This tribute to Johnson adds another layer to a story which already resonates with Memphis fans. They've embraced their new Grizzly because of his effort, intensity and defense.

Plus, they probably don't mind that he averages more points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks than starting small forward Tayshaun Prince.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

So while plenty of D-League call-ups are as temporary as the fake tattoos Memphis will hand out on Feb. 21, it looks like Johnson will stick around for a while.

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.