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The Most Amazing Fan Tributes to Athletes

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2015

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Pittsburgh Pirates fans hold up fat heads of Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 26, 2014 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates defeated the Reds 3-1. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As sports fans, we really do love our athletes, don't we? In addition to dropping some serious cash on tickets to see them play in person or on a jersey to wear around town in support, we do some crazy, and cool, things in honor of them.

Over the years, there have been different ways that people have done this, with tattoos or haircuts of their favorite players showing up on them to show just how much they adore the athletes.

In honor of those people who are creative, unique and really big fans, here are the most amazing fan tributes to athletes I've ever seen.

10. That Kobe Bryant Leg Tat

Look, I've got three tattoos that are meaningful to me because, well, you don't really care why, so I have no room to question what a sports fan wants to get permanently inked onto his body.

While there have been some questionable tats that fans have gotten, this one on a Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant fan named Spencer Larkin is actually pretty dope.

Sure, it's not a signed shoe of Kobe's, but it's meaningful to Larkin and something that will remind him of Bryant's greatness as a Laker forever.

9. The Dallas Cowboys-Themed Car

I don't know about you, but when I drop a bunch of money on a new car, the last thing I'm thinking about doing is ruining it by doing a customized paint job that will drop its value.

However, if the finished product looked as dope as this Dallas Cowboys-themed car with some of the franchise's all-time best players and coaches on it, maybe I would reconsider.

With coaches and players such as Drew Pearson, Tom Landry, Dez Bryant, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Irvin and a massive face of Troy Aikman on the trunk of it, this is exactly why the Boys are still America's Team—because their fans just can't get enough of them.

8. Derek Jeter's Corn Maze Face

After playing 20 seasons for the New York Yankees and becoming the face of the franchise, Derek Jeter proved to be one of the most beloved athletes in the history of New York sports. That love affair stretched outside of the Big Apple, too, though.

That's because a farm in New Jersey paid tribute to The Captain during Jeter's final season with the Yanks by cutting the five-time World Series champ's face into its field, making quite the corn maze to look down on—which, oddly enough, has sort of become a thing over the past few years to honor athletes.

This only proves one thing: Jeter was more than just the King of New York during his playing days.

7. That One Time a Fan Sent J.R. Smith $60

Does this count as a tribute? Maybe not. But it has to matter for something because it's completely insane—and a serious act of fandom.

As if life as an NBA player weren't dope enough, J.R. Smith actually received three $20 bills from a fan who won $120 from a friend while playing a video game over some silly bet. Rather than keep it all to himself, though, the New York Knicks fan thought it would be most appropriate to cut the winnings in half and send $60 to the former Knicks sharpshooter.

Guys, this isn't a tattoo or a sacred shrine, but it's definitely a rare form of flattery for Smith.

6. The Matt Carpenter Snowman

Tiphanie shy @Tiphanieshy

@FOX2now @FSMidwest look who's ready for spring training! #mattcarpenter http://t.co/kWa5jSNQ9h

Maybe I'm just getting soft—or in the spirit of the holiday season—but I actually find this snowman of St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter to be pretty cool.

Constructed by a diehard Cards fan who happens to be a kid, you can't tell me that this isn't impressive by the youngster, as the snow version of Carpenter comes complete with the full beard and all.

With a couple of All-Star appearances and two seasons in which he finished in the top 12 in league MVP voting, this might be the only way that the real Matt Carpenter cools off.

5. The San Antonio Spurs' Mount Rushmore Haircut

Photo Credit: Joe Barajas Facebook Video

For those fans who aren't quite bold enough to get themselves some ink of their favorite player that will stay with them forever, another option is getting a haircut that symbolizes just how big a supporter you are.

Take this guy, for instance, who got the Mount Rushmore of San Antonio Spurs players buzzed into his head following the team's playoff run in 2014. The artwork includes the faces of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard.

And just when you thought this guy might be crazy, the good luck on his head may have actually worked, because the Spurs won the title a few months after the guy did it—so maybe more people should think about this.

4. The Tony Hawk Signature Tattoo

Although the Kobe Bryant tattoo on the aforementioned Lakers fan Spencer Larkin is interesting and tastefully done, this one that legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk posted on Instagram a while back is equally as cool—because it's his autograph on a fan's arm for life!

There have been a number of examples of this, so I can applaud a person for not only taking the dive and going through with it but also being a big enough fan to care to have his favorite athlete's signature on him forever.

3. Andrew McCutchen Receives Signed Ball from Young Kid in Hospital

This is one of my favorite stories of the past year because it shows just how in touch Pittsburgh Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen is with his fans.

Following a trip to the hospital where he met a kid named Matt Groeber—who suffered a brain abscess and was in the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh—McCutchen actually received a letter and signed baseball back from Groeber a few months later, giving the All-Star a heads up that he was doing better.

That was not only an awesome gesture but pretty bold of the kid to do, too.

With things such as this, it's no wonder why Cutch won the Roberto Clemente Award this past season for his off-the-field work in the community.

2. The Snow Art That Chinese Students Made for Kobe Bryant

China Xinhua News @XHNews

Farewell, @kobebryant! Students draw out "Forever 24" on snow in NE #China's Jilin to salute the great NBA star https://t.co/YrlE9hEMk6

The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant sure is one popular fella, isn't he? In addition to being beloved worldwide and being the inspiration for the aforementioned tattoo for a fan, the Black Mamba also received a pretty cool honor from fans in China last week.

That's where some students decided to draw a portrait of Bryant with the words "Forever 24" in freakin' snow!

It might not be a Picasso, but that's pretty darn talented, nevertheless.

1. The Autographed Jersey That J.J. Watt Got from a Young Fan

JJ Watt @JJWatt

This kid has some guts... I like it. http://t.co/V1M7PTmMuf

Like the aforementioned baseball that Andrew McCutchen got from a kid he visited in the hospital, Houston Texans superstar J.J. Watt got an unexpected delivery from one of his diehard fans, too—and it was one of the most amazing tributes I'm sure he's ever received.

The kid, seven-year-old Anthony Tarantelli, sent Watt his own playing jersey with a letter describing how friends refer to Anthony as J.J. because of the way he plays football, along with a message—keep this, because I'm going to be famous one day.

Watt is one of the hardest-working and most inspiring athletes, so it's pretty cool to see a young fan aspire to be like him when he gets older.

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