Tyler Lamb is back. Even though he has gone through some changes, it’s all just a part of growing up.
It had been a while since Thailand basketball fans had seen him. Halfway through the Thailand Basketball League (TBL) and Lamb was not there to defend his title with Hitech. Halfway through the Thailand Professional Basketball League (TPBL) and Lamb was not here to play with either club under the Mono umbrella, even after playing for them in the recent ASEAN Basketball League season.
After a lengthy absence, the national team star was finally back in the flesh, courtside at the TPBL game between Hitech Basketball Club and the Mono Scorpions. It was almost as if he had picked the perfect timing to make his arrival public to the Thailand basketball circle, watching a clash among two teams he had deep ties with. At that time, Lamb was still in vacation mode, enjoying the game as a spectator and rooting for his friends who just happened to be on both teams.
Lambo was just looking to chill.
“I’ve been really spending time with the family at the house,” The 28-year-old swingman said after watching that game, explaining how life has been post-ABL season. “I got to go home for about a month and a half so that was fun. I’ve been in Thailand for like a week now and I’m just looking forward to whatever is next.”
Lamb politely requested to not be asked any questions about where he would be playing soon, but as we all know by now, he will be suiting up for the Mono Scorpions in the TPBL. It is certainly a new experience for Lamb and he was prepared to soak all of that in with a new look.
Gone were the cornrows. The braids. The puffed out ponytails. Fans had become accustomed to Lamb’s choices of hairstyle, even anticipating the changes over the years. Yet here he was with a fresh and clean fade. It was definitely going to take some time getting used to.
Though it seemed to make Lamb appear a bit younger, it also somehow managed to make him look more mature.
“I don’t mean to get too deep,” Lamb starts his explanation for the haircut.
“I just felt like it was time. I have grown my hair for three years and for me to grow as a person and to accept the new things that are coming towards me, it was just time to cut the hair and level up one time.”
In a way, cutting his hair was cutting away a younger version of himself, readying for the future. Lamb might have meant to not get too deep, but that surely was something to think about.
Tyler watched the game, baring his wide trademark smile – one that has won him a large following of Thai fans – while sitting on the top row of the bleachers at Hitech Gymnasium. Rewinding back 4 years ago, this exact place was where his professional basketball career had begun as a member of the 2015-2016 Hitech Bangkok City team in the ABL. He had poured out his sweat on this very same court, making his way on to becoming a better player as the years went by. The banners and celebratory photos that were draped all over the walls of the gym remained where they had been, with a recent addition of the TBL 2018 title banner which featured Lamb beaming proudly among his former teammates.
Just like how Hitech Gymnasium has added on to its storied walls in the past few years, Lamb has likewise added more to the stories told over his body in the form of tattoos. His most recent addition was done over his summer vacation, as posted on his Instagram account.
Lamb explained that his new Thai Elephant Tattoo on his right shoulder and Continent of Africa on his left shoulder were inspired by his grandfather and his Thai great-uncle, who Lamb respects like a grandfather as well.
“Those are the two older guys that instilled the foundation in me,” Lamb said.
That should come as no surprise, since both gentlemen are also featured in body ink just on the back his Lamb’s neck.
“I had that one last time when I was in Thailand during the TBL when we won that championship there on the wall with Hitech,” Lamb recalled as he nodded over to the newest banner added to the ‘Walls of Fame’ at Hitech Gymnasium. Just like that banner, the tattoo itself meant a lot to the California native who is just as proud of his native roots as anyone else.
“The [tattoos] I’m most connected with that means the most to me are the ones on the back of my neck,” he said, pointing towards the tattoo’s location. “It took me the longest to do because I wanted to wait until I found something that I really wanted and somebody that could really do it.”
“When I got it done, I was happy because it is both of my grandfathers and they’re the people that instilled this foundation in me. Whenever things go wrong in life or anything, you want to have a foundation and principle to look back on and fall back on and that’s what I’ve been priding myself on as of late. Being able to go through adversity and not changing who I am, being able to stick through that adversity and staying through my principles that was instilled in me.”
As he spoke, you sort of got a grasp of what Lamb had meant when he mentioned about cutting his hair to “level up”. Even after he had started this conversation by saying that he didn’t want to go too deep, here he was talking about his tattoos as symbols for a deeper emotional meaning.
Don’t expect Lamb to grow out of getting tattoos, too – at least in the near future. He has had ink on his body for nearly half of his entire life and it all started with two simple letters.
“I got my initials on my chest when I was like 15,” Lamb revealed.
“We don’t have to talk much about that one,” he quickly added and laughed. “But yeah, those was my initials, my dad’s initials, my sister’s initials. All the TLs in my family.”
From there, it just kept on spreading.
“I always knew I was gonna get a whole bunch of tattoos.”
“Honestly when I started –,” Lamb recalled before stopping abruptly to chuckle as he strolled down memory lane. “When I was young, I always wanted tattoos. Then, I started listening to Wiz Khalifa when I was in high school and it really got me going.”
“There used to be this thing about getting tattoos being like low lives, gangs, gangsters and all that, but it’s different now. It’s a new day and age.”
“Tattoos to me has become more like an art obsession. I get to look down at my skin and to see all the art and it reminds of the times I was going through in life when I got the tattoo and that’s a unique thing I really liked about it.”
From arm to arm, chest to back, there’s already not a lot of space left for Lamb to continue ‘painting’ his art on. Even though Lamb still has plenty inspiration for more artwork, he also realizes that he might need to take half a step back, too.
“Man, I’ve got so many ideas. In my head, my whole body is already covered,” Lamb laughs. “I already know what I want but the tough thing is slowing yourself down because you never know how you’re going to feel in 5 years.
“That’s the thing with me right now. Like, I’m not going to get something unless I know that it’s a significant part of me. When you are young, you get tattoos and stuff but when you grow older you start to realize and you just learn.”
“For me, I’m at a point in my life where it’s just all about trying to better the person inside because I have kids and things like that,” Lamb added.
“I’m trying to focus on the inner me because that’s where most of my motivation is coming from right now.”
For Tyler Lamb, it’s always about change. He’s about to change teams, playing with different teammates, and with a different coach. He’s already changed his hair and it’s going to stay that way for a while. He’s still constantly adding on to his tattoo collection, changing the artwork on his body to better tell the story of his life.
And even though that tatted life could be slowing down, Lamb will still be changing – improving – deep down inside and continue to level up towards becoming an even better person.