What Wisconsin star Bronson Koenig's tattoos mean

Nicole Auerbach

MADISON, Wis. — Bronson Koenig cringes at the memory of the pain. Worth it, certainly, for the amazing art that’s permanently on his body. But, man, did that tattoo along his left rib cage hurt.

Bronson Koenig's tattoo reminds him that Ho-Chunks are fierce warriors.

“The thing is vibrating on your bone,” Koenig said. “I felt like puking.”

Koenig got that tattoo, a dreamcatcher, during the summer of 2015. His second tattoo — what looks like a lion wearing red war paint and an intricately designed headdress — came this past summer.

“I like lines a lot and what they symbolize,” Koenig said. “And also the war paint and being a warrior. The Ho-Chunk are kinda known in this area as being some of the fiercest warriors.”

Koenig, whose mother is full-blooded Ho-Chunk, has become one of the most recognizable Native American stars in the country during his basketball career at Wisconsin. During the past four years, he’s also learned more about his heritage and what it means for him to be a role model within this community.

His body reflects that understanding — even if it hurt to get there.