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'I Can Too.' MSU women's basketball freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann talks ink

April 13, 2022
<p>Freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann (0) dribbles up the court. The Spartans lost 61-55 against Ohio State University at the Breslin Center on Feb. 27, 2022.</p>

Freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann (0) dribbles up the court. The Spartans lost 61-55 against Ohio State University at the Breslin Center on Feb. 27, 2022.

Photo by Sheldon Krause | The State News

Every tattoo has a story.

It doesn’t matter whether it comes from your favorite basketball player or your local bank teller, when you see another individual with art covering inches of their torso or limbs, most want to know more.

Michigan State women’s basketball freshman guard DeeDee Hagemann is probably the most inked player on the Michigan State women's basketball roster. 

Hagemann said she isn’t the type to go out and get random tattoos simply because they look cool.

“It’s going to be on your body forever, so why not have a message that you can remember throughout the years you live,” she said.

Hagemann was raised in a Christian household and has several tattoos that pertain to her lifelong devotion to God. 

Her most notable and noticeable, however, is her second tattoo. The one above her left kneecap that she got during her senior year of high school. In thick, black letters with an evident underline, it reads:

“I Can Too.”

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It’s a mantra. An affirmation.  A reassurance.

Hagemann said the simple three-word statement gives her courage and confidence. In recent years, the disparity of treatment between female basketball players and their male counterparts came to light. Now, change is starting after the NCAA allowed the women to be branded with the notorious March Madness logo for the first time in history.

Hagemann wears this tattoo proudly when she takes the court and it can be seen just below the cut off of her green and white shorts.

The mantra has a double meaning. It’s also a logo.

The “I Can Too Foundation” is a nonprofit organization that was started by Hagemann’s assistant basketball coach at Detroit Edison, Jasmine Cooper.

According to the Facebook page, "The mission of I Can Too is to empower, economically educate and expose underprivileged youth to resources and experiences that will help them reach their full and greatest potential." 

Hagemann plans to add to her “I Can Too” tattoo. She wants to create an entire sleeve out of it, with portraits of powerful Black historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X because growing up, she felt a lot of people discouraged her and the Black community as a whole.

“If I have them on my legs (with that mantra), then it represents ‘I Can Too,’ no matter what race, color, ethnicity you are,” she said. “I look at it and I think sky’s the limit, I can overcome and accomplish anything. … If I feel like I can’t do something or I’m not motivated, I look or tap on my left leg and I remember that this tattoo is here, so I Can Too.”

This story was in our April 12 print edition. Read the full issue here.

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