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Bringing Up Bebe Week 23: Keeping a record of heroes

There’s not a lot to write about on the court for Lucas Nogueira, but he’s still talking.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

File this one under “obvious things I should have noticed way earlier” but Lucas Nogueira has a large tattoo of Wolverine on his torso. I don’t know how I missed it — Bebe’s torso is almost at eye level — and, for god sakes, it’s Wolverine!

To be clear, the tattoo is not of the iconic yellow-and-blue character we’ve grown used to seeing in comics and cartoons over the past few decades. No, Bebe instead has an image of the Hugh Jackman Wolverine flashing the ol’claws with a scowl on his face. This is particularly wild, considering multiple teammates of Nogueira’s have compared themselves to Wolverine over the years. Somehow, only Bebe is committed to the idea.

Anyway, confronted with this obvious thing I should have noticed way earlier, I asked Bebe an obvious (to me) question: why?

Nogueira said it’s because he’s a fan of Jackman, and follows his life. I suspect he maybe even looks up to him. I get that. Jackman emerged from Australian obscurity to headline a movie franchise for almost two decades. He picked up an Oscar nomination along the way (for Les Miserables) and even won a Golden Globe (for same). He’s got a new movie on the way in which he plays P.T. Barnum, the ultimate showman (It’s fittingly called The Greatest Showman.) And despite his rise in celebrity, Jackman has stayed married for 21 years. If there’s a guy to respect, it’s Jackman. But, still... a tattoo?

Forgive me, and my swerve into Andy Rooney territory here, but I do not understand the whole tattoo thing. I can acknowledge there’s a grand history there — as tribal symbols, or as pieces of art, or as part of bonding rituals — but I can never get past a more simple concern in the present day: you want this — this — on your body for the rest of your life?

I’m not sure I could follow anyone’s life with that much respect and reverence. Not even Wolverine’s.


Oh but there’s more! Lucas also has a tattoo of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on his arm. He loves them too — his fandom is well-documented out there, though I cannot locate the video clips of him signing along in his car with Anthony Kiedis on “Under the Bridge.” If you dig through James Herbert’s Twitter timeline you might find them. Good luck.

Likewise, if you dig through Josh Lewenberg’s TL you’ll find another interesting tidbit. Bebe has said on more than one occasion that music is his life. The tattoos, the desire to sing, and more suggest that. What’s that “more” I’m referring to? With Nogueira there is apparently always more.

The more: Bebe is in a samba band that calls themselves the Connection. They’ve been together for a couple months now, and book gigs around Raptors games. How convenient, though there’s no word yet on what Dwane Casey thinks of this. May I suggest: this is... remarkable. I don’t even have a joke here. Go, Bebe, go.

Not Happy

The unhappiness here is two-fold however. First, Nogueira isn’t getting any minutes. It’s probable that the backup centre minutes will be entirely consumed in the playoffs altogether and distributed amongst some combination of Serge Ibaka, Patrick Patterson and P.J. Tucker. We sort of knew that already, but to see Jakob Poeltl taking Bebe’s minutes still, still, stings. (Even though, yes, Jak has been great — not including last night’s battle with Charlotte.) We’ve been over this.

Second, and more importantly, the third tattoo we talked about was Bebe’s Charlie Chaplin piece on his right leg. Allow me to repeat: Lucas Nogueira has a Charlie Chaplin tattoo on his leg. But, there’s a twist. Bebe does not have the tattoo because he’s a big fan of Chaplin’s movies (much to my dismay; seriously, watch Modern Times, it hasn’t aged a day). No, Bebe is a fan of Chaplin’s, you guessed it, music career!

On the face of it, this isn’t particularly sad, per se. It’s more surprising, if anything, and had both me and Lewenberg frantically googling to see what the hell it was that Chaplin had composed. (He’s a composer! Who knew.) It just bums me out personally because, well, I was looking for an excuse to talk film.

Also, apparently a friend of Bebe’s didn’t like the tattoo because they thought, at first glance, it was an image of Hitler. To quote Bebe, “I’m black. How could I have a tattoo of Hitler?”

Such a terrible misunderstanding on every level.

Level of High Level

Will anyone ever get a tattoo of Lucas Nogueira on their person? History suggests no — unless the Connection becomes a samba sensation that sweeps the nation. Which, I mean, stranger things have happened, and Bebe does have the sort of silhouette that makes for a great tattoo. Someone, somewhere, is talking themselves into this already — but not I.

High Level Result: 2 out of 10 — All considerations of the future aside, the present is pretty dark for Bebe right now. A small window of action in one vaguely meaningless game does not a career make. We’re keeping things low this week, even as the beat keeps going on and on.