In the NBA, a ring holds a similar significance, but for a different reason altogether than our society would expect. Safe to say, every NBA player wants to finish off their career with at least one ring to take home. But what exactly are these highly-coveted NBA rings?
Why do NBA players get rings? NBA players get rings for winning the NBA Finals. These rings are very luxurious, featuring diamonds, gold, and other gemstones, and also feature details that pay tribute to that team’s history, identity, and journey to the Finals. The NBA players receive the championship rings at the beginning of the new season; as of now, the 2022 NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, have yet to receive their rings.
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What do NBA rings look like?
NBA rings are an intricate work of various gemstones and valuables as well as detailed engraving. They are usually larger than a typical ring, and their design has evolved over the years, getting more and more advanced and outlandish in design. While there isn’t really a set format, they usually contain two things: the logo of the team as well as the year they won the championship. Further than that, it features multiple tributes and nods to the franchise’s history and identity.
To get a better understanding, let’s look at the most recently issued NBA rings, the Milwaukee Bucks 2021 NBA champions rings, made up of more than 400 diamonds. The face of the ring features an emerald green “deer” Bucks logo overlayed on the golden Larry O’Brien NBA Finals trophy. The purity percentage of the gold used for the trophy design is exactly 65.3%, which was the Bucks’ winning percentage in the regular season. The top of the ring is made up of 360 diamonds, which is a nod to the number of games won by the franchise since the new franchise took over.
On each side of the ring are 16 emerald-shaped diamonds; the ones on the left side of the ring represent the Bucks’ 16 wins in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, while the ones on the right side represent the 16 division titles won in the Bucks history. 50 round stones on the bezel indicate the 50 years that have passed since the last NBA championship the franchise won, while the weight of the emeralds, 4.14 carats, refers to the 414 Milwaukee area code.
There’s more; the “World Champions” wording is made up of stones weighing exactly 0.53 carats, a nod to how many years the Bucks franchise has been existent. 3 carats of stones on the shank of the ring represent the three Eastern Conference titles the franchise have. The engraving on each side of the ring features insignias such as “Fear the Deer” and “Bucks in 6.” One side has the name of the player (rings were special-made for each player) made up of diamonds, as well as the player’s name also in diamonds. The other side of the ring has an engraving featuring the series record for each playoff round, as well as the final score of the title-winning game. Each ring was valued at more than $20,000 each.
The Bucks 2021 ring is the latest in a line of exemplary and luxurious ring designs, dominated by gold and diamonds and intricate detailing. Going back into history will show less detailed designs, but impressive and memorable nonetheless. The first championship ring was awarded to the 1946-1947 inaugural BAA champions, the Philadelphia Warriors. The Warriors ring was a simple one made of gold, with a single small diamond fixed in the middle. The ring was engraved with “Phila” as well as “Warriors” engraved above the diamond and “Champions” engraved below the diamond.
When are NBA rings given, and who receives a ring?
NBA rings are given to the champions on the opening night of the new season. There is a ceremony held prior to the game to celebrate the team, which includes the awarding of the rings. Each player and coach receives a (customized) ring, including those who have left the team over the past off-season; they are awarded their rings whenever they come visit the team’s arena with their new team. The team can also decided who to give a ring as well.
What else do NBA players and teams receive for winning an NBA championship?
The rings are the most notable items that players and teams receive for winning an NBA championship. The Larry O’Brien NBA Finals trophy is probably the most symbolic, but it is kept with the team while each player gets to take home a ring. NBA teams also put up a banner in their stadium to signify their success. NBA teams also receive some prize money as part of the prize pool available to teams that qualify for the NBA playoffs. The sum, however, is not significant to the team or the players, as compared to their revenues and salaries respectively. For example, the 2018 NBA Champions Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly received approximately $3.3 million in prize money.
Which NBA player has the most NBA rings?
The NBA player with the most NBA rings was the late Bill Russell, who had 11 rings. There are photos of Russell with all 11 of his rings, which he holds in his palms, as he has more rings than fingers! Other notable players with multiple rings include Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James; Jordan is notorious for flexing his 6 rings often.
Walking away with an NBA ring has to be the highlight of every NBA player’s career who was well-fortuned enough to win one. It truly is a blessing and an honor to receive a ring, as those who have won one like to lord it over those who were unable to capture a ring in their career. While the “rings” argument is a popular one to decide a player’s greatness, it shouldn’t be the only factor, but it sure is hard to say no to all that bling!