By. Taha Qureshi
CHICAGO - Since entering the pro ranks as the 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Jordan Clarkson has always sported a clean cut look - well groomed, short hair and no tattoos.
But when he played for the Philippines in the Asian Games last August, the basketball world took notice the ink crawling all over his arms. And by September 27, during the Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day, the tattoo on his neck became the talk of NBA fans.
So why the sudden burst of enthusiasm for ink art?
Nobody knows, but at age 26, Clarkson is too young for midlife crisis, so that's definitely not that.
Many have speculated that the tattoo outbreak was influenced by Clarkson's veteran teammate J.R. Smith. who himself has an impressive spillage of ink all over his skin. The pair of shooting guards are reportedly close.
When we met Clarkson last weekend at the United Center, we didn't pry about the tattoos' inspiration, but we did ask him where he got it and which artist was the behind the instrument.
"My boy, Steve Levy. In Vancouver," Clarkson told SPIN,ph.
One mystery solved.
With LeBron James scampering off to Los Angeles this past summer and Kevin Love sidelined by foot surgery, Clarkson is currently the Cavaliers' leading scorer at 15.2 points per game. He is shooting an impressive 46.3 percent from the field but his 3-point accuracy (30.8 percent) needs a little lift.
With his team off to a sluggish 1-11 start, we asked Clarkson if the need for him to put up points on the scoreboard is a burden or a challenge.
"No," he insists, "Just coming in and doing the best I can."
This newfound role could bode well for Clarkson, who becomes a free agent in 2020 when his four-year $50 million deal comes to a conclusion.
Obviously, the more points he makes increases his value for another long term deal.