Wed Mar 16 04:37pm EDT
After three nomadic years, Burlington Township (N.J.) High Danny Rodriguez finally found a place where he can soar. If there was any question about that, one need only look at the tattoos on the inside of his biceps.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Phil Anastasia, Rodriguez has emerged as a major threat at just the right time to help pilot a long playoff run for the Falcons, his third team in four high school seasons. Perhaps the senior forward's rise, and his breakout performance against Kingsway (N.J.) in a 53-49 state semifinal victory, has something to do with his unique tattoos, wings which stretch the length of his bicep and make it look as if he's about to take off whenever he puts the basketball above his head.
You can see one of Rodriguez's wings in the photo above.
While the proliferation of tattoos on high school athletes is at best a controversial subject, the practice has become more and more common since the days of LeBron James' adhesive-covered tats at St. Vincent-St. Mary's (Ohio) School.
And with more widespread tattoos come more creative individual expression, just like what Rodriguez is showing with his tattoos, which he told the Inquirer he had wanted for as long as he could remember before he finally had them inked Feb. 27, his 18th birthday.
"I always wanted these," Rodriguez told the Inquirer. "Now it's a coincidence because I'm a Falcon.
"They hurt at first, but now I don't feel a thing."
Considering the fact that Burlington Township rattled off five straight wins and reached the state championship game -- which it eventually lost, 57-48 to Plainfield (N.J.) High -- after Rodriguez got his tattoos, could the wings have been a good luck charm?
Perhaps, or maybe it was just Rodriguez himself.
"One day, the kids told me, 'Hey there's a new kid and he's pretty good,'" Burlington Township coach Scott Kupersmit told the Inquirer. "They always say that, so you never know. But this time they were right.
"[Rodriguez] dropped out of the sky."
Given his tattoos, that sentiment seems strangely appropriate.