Louisville head coach Rick Pitino made a pledge to his team at the mid-way point of the 2012-2013 NCAA Division I men’s basketball season: win the national championship and he would get inked.
The Cardinals had suffered a demoralizing loss in quintuple overtime to Notre Dame in early February and Pitino knew his team needed to be picked back up. He also knew his players had a love of tattoos. Pitino told his players he believed they would bounce back from the loss, win the Big East title and cruise all the way to a national championship. Once they had accomplished those lofty goals, he’d join them in permanently etching his body with something to commemorate the season.
Pitino is a man of his word.
This is what his upper back looks like now:
Yeah, it’s pretty goofy for an old guy like Pitino to get tatted up, but it’s probably safe to say he’d happily go under the needle every year for the rest of his life if it means raising his hands in victory at the end of the season.
This particular piece of artwork — an L with 2013 next to it and the team’s record below — was done by a tattoo artist named Adam Potts at Louisville, Ky. shop Tattoo Salvation. Unsurprisingly, the shop did the work for free.
“I was a little nervous,” Potts told ESPN. “I felt like I did when I did my first tattoo 12 years ago.”
“It wasn’t even close to the pain I had with kidney stones,” Pitino reported.
No word on what Pitino has planned for his next tattoo. But it’s probably only a matter of time. As the inked among us know, tattoos are more addictive than drugs.