George Kittle tattoos, explained: The story behind 49ers star's Joker-inspired ink, other images
Why so serious?
With multiple tattoos spanning his body, George Kittle is something of an ink-aholic. Some represent the close-knit nature of his family, while others offer a glimpse into his extracurricular interests away from the football field.
One of those interests appears to be superhero movies, specifically "The Dark Knight," the 2008 thriller highlighted by Heath Ledger's tour de force performance as the Joker.
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Like any fan of good cinema, Kittle has seen the classic. And it seems to have moved him, enough so that he got the supervillain's likeness plastered onto his left forearm.
Kittle told the story behind the tattoo during a 2021 appearance on the "10 Questions" podcast with Kyle Brandt. It's a bit of a doozy:
As it goes, Kittle has always been a Joker aficionado. He has sported Joker-inspired cleats on the field and Joker-inspired Jordans off it.
He even decked out his Seeker — the pass-catching machine he uses during the offseason — with a Joker decal. That's real commitment to the bit.
Anyways, Kittle yearned for a tattoo paying tribute to one of his favorite movie characters. With just a few days to go before he was to get married, Kittle was able to schedule an appointment with a local tattoo artist. He went to his then-fiancee and laid out what he was hoping to do.
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Let's just say she wasn't very happy.
"I thought she was going to stab me," Kittle said.
Kittle couldn't really give his soon-to-be spouse a solid reason as to why he chose to get the tat when he did — apart from the fact that he really wanted it, of course. Still, she gave him the green light to get the work done. That meant spending eight hours in a tattoo parlor the day before Kittle was due to be married. Love is something else, huh?
How many tattoos does George Kittle have?
Per Body Art Guru, Kittle has five tattoos, each of which is located on his arms. They are a bear paw, a Joker portrait, the word 'BELIEVE,' a Master Chief portrait from the Halo series and miscellaneous biceps ink.
What does George Kittle's Joker tattoo mean?
Per Kittle, the Joker tattoo has more significance than simply honoring a cultural touchstone. It's also a symbol of the multifaceted nature of Kittle's personality. Off the field, he's fun-loving, goofy even.
But on it, he's a hardened killer, one hoping to inflict as much punishment as possible on opposition defenses.
"The mental side of it, the switch, the reset," Kittle told Brandt.
It's a decent metaphor for Kittle's role on the Niners, one that has toggled between No. 1 pass catcher and elite blocker over the years.
Plus, that's got to be a freaky sight for defenders trying to cover Kittle in the flat.