NBA championship rings: How much are they worth, what are they made of and who gets one

The NBA champion raises the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the treasure that awaits at the end of the playoffs, but it’s far from the only symbol of success in America’s elite basketball league. There’s also the flag hanging from the ceiling of the winning team’s pitch and, of course, the championship ring given to the winning players and coaches. This is how an NBA career is judged: by the number of rings. The 11 won by Bill Russell, the six won by Michael Jordan in six finals, the 13 won by Phil Jackson (11 as a coach, two as a player)…

Championship rings first produced by the Montreal Hockey Club in the 1890s

It is a tradition based on the desire to reward members of a winning team with a souvenir of their success. There can only be one trophy per team, so there also needed to be a way to honor the members of that team. Ice Hockey The Montreal Hockey Club was the first to order a championship ring, in 1893 (although he did not become an NHL regular until the 1960s) and the four major leagues in the United States – NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL – now follow the tradition, as do many university competitions in the country.

At baseball, MLB saw its first championship rings in 1922, when they were made by the Giants to celebrate their World Series victory over the Yankees. The Yankees went on to win the MLB title the following year and had watches made for their players. In 1927, the franchise is then part of the tradition of the distribution of rings and, from 1932, MLB started distributing them to the league winners.

In NASCARfor example, the rings are given not only to complete series winners, but also drivers who come out on top in particularly box office races (such as the Indy 500 and Daytona 500). In college basketball, they are presented at the NCAA Final Four winners, and also at the three other participating teams. In all sports, rings can be given to conference winners, runners-up…but they certainly don’t have the same value or meaning as those given to overall champions. Rings are also created for iconic moments like the induction into a hall of fame or an appearance in an all-star game.

Who gets a championship ring?

There are no rules on how many rings a championship-winning team receives and who receives one. Players and coaching staff get one, clearly, but teams also tend to include most other people who work for the franchise, as well as giving one to legendary former players. They are also given to all roster members who were unable to play their part in the playoffs, and indeed anyone who presented at all during the season, even if they have been cut or exchanged before winning the championship.

The cost of NBA championship rings now stretches into six figures

In the NBA, rings were standardized between 1969 and 1983, before the league allowed teams to begin producing their own designs. The NBA covers the costs to make the rings, a courtesy not offered in all American leagues. In the NHL and MLB, franchises have to foot the bill, while the NFL – where the teams’ huge squads result in a large number of rings – contributes up to $5,000 per person.

So there is now a lot of freedom in the appearance of the championship ring, but the the base design is still gemstones on yellow/white gold. There are two key jewelers of choice in American professional sports – Massachusetts-based LG Balfour and Minnesota-based Jostens – although Tiffany has also become a major supplier in recent years, as has Baron Championship Rings, especially in the NBA. The company was given the green light by the Cavaliers in 2016, producing what was at the time the the heaviest championship ring of all time, at 165 grams.

Baron Championship Rings was also the jeweler of choice for the Raptors in 2019. The Canadian franchise, which was celebrating its first-ever NBA title, opted for five different types of rings: the most expensiveprimarily for players and coaches, cost over $100,000 each; the cheapest, at just $13 each, were the 20,000 distributed to fans in the stands for the first game of the following season, during the flag-raising ceremony and the presentation of championship rings to the players.

ring makers reserves the right to sell replicas or other jewelry (earrings, bracelets, etc.) commemorating the title won by a team. The rings are more and more personalized and stuffed with inscriptions and symbols, but always bear the name and the logo of the franchise, the number of the championship won, the competition… The first rings were relatively basic, with a stone all the way more, but especially since the 1990s, they have evolved into bigger, heavier, more and more ostentatious pieces always more nuggets and references. Nowadays, the rings could have more than 100 diamonds – not only on the front, but on its entire surface – leading their price to strike several tens of thousands of euros.

For the dearest of the Raptors 2019 ring, for example, a total of 650 diamonds were used, including a 6.9mm diamond that was the largest ever on a US Championship ring. The coin also bore 16 rubies, representing the number of games the Raptors were expected to win during the playoffs that year, in addition to featuring: the Toronto skyline; six diamonds in tribute to the city’s nicknameThe six’; and the word ‘North‘ in reference to the slogan ‘We the North‘ used by the Canadian franchise in their run to the championship. The most expensive ringlike the one worn by singer Drake, a big fan of the franchise, is worth over $150,000.

Milwaukee Bucks, 2021 NBA champions

The Milwaukee Bucks rode a stellar playoff streak last season, beating the Phoenix Suns 4-2 to win their first NBA championship in 50 years.Their championship ring consisted of 360 diamonds at the top to represent their total wins since the start of their franchise. In addition, 16 emerald cut diamonds on the left side accounted for all 16 playoff wins in last season’s playoffs, with another 16 diamonds on the right side for the 16 division titles in Bucks history. And for the 50 years since the Bucks have seen no championship Title, 50 round stones were on the support of the inner bezel heavy rings.

Comments are closed.