In Netflix film Hustle, Bo Cruz is a yet-to-be-discovered talented basketball who is unearthed by Stanley Sugerman, a scout for the 76ers.
If you’ve seen the film already, you will be familiar with the character’s intriguing personality as well as humble background.
One striking feature of Bo is the sheer amount of tattoos stretched across his body. And while the film explains all of them, it’s easy to miss the details. Let’s dissect this.
The older tattoos
When Bo moves to Philadelphia after Stanley’s request, the latter’s daughter, Alex, is clearly fascinated by him.
While Alex is recording Bo’s basketball skills at Stanley’s request, she notices Bo’s tattoos and asks him what the little chick means.
He responds that it is dedicated to his daughter Lucia, who he calls ‘Pollito’, which means little chicken in Spanish.
In fact, all the tattoos on his body are for his daughter, Lucia, and his mother, Paola, who mean everything to him. The words ‘fight for glory’ and the lion tattoo indicate his own ambitions and motivation for courage.
When Alex enquires about his father, he responds that all the empty space on his left hand is for him, as he despises him.
In the film, Paola mentioned that Bo’s father left her and him to move to Portugal with some other woman. For the family, he is as good as non-existent.
The oak tree tattoo
According to Paola, after Bo’s father left, he became her pillar of support. In fact, she considers him a ‘strong oak tree’.
Interestingly, the national tree of Spain, where Bo and his family hail from, is the Holm Oak (Quercus ilex). In fact, it is the national tree of a number of countries and is considered to be the symbol of strength and endurance.
After Bo ruins his chances during the NBA Draft Combine by almost assaulting Kermit Wilts, Paola has a heartfelt discussion with him.
Just like Bo takes all the pain and endures it for his family, Stanley does the same for him. He is his oak tree.
When Bo finally makes it to the NBA, playing for Boston Celtics, he considers Stanley as the reason for all his success.
The empty space on the left arm is now dedicated to Stanley, who is a father figure to him. It has the tattoo of an oak tree in his honour.
Along with it, the words ‘never back down’ are inscribed as those were the words Stanley repeated to Bo when they were struggling.
These are also the words passed down to Stanley by the 76ers’ previous owner Rex, who dies at the start of the film. They are also his last words to him.