NBA

The Raptors’ Championship Rings Raised the Bar for Everyone Else

It seems like with every year, sports championship rings get bigger and bigger. Before the Toronto Raptors even defeated the Golden State Warriors to win the 2019 NBA finals, the team had their rings designed. The team came up with something that would truly express the gravity of winning. In fact, the ring is so spectacular that the Raptors made jewelry history with it. This ring blings like a jewel-encrusted hockey puck. It has definitely raised the bar on championship rings for all the other teams.

How the Raptors won the championship

The Eastern Conference Raptors beat the Western Conference Warriors in a 4-2 win to earn the 2019 NBA championship. During the series, the Raptors lost the first game of the first round to the Orlando Magic. They won the next four games in a row and then won the series in five games. 

It was a long road to the championship win. It was the Raptors’ first trip to the NBA Finals, breaking a 25-year drought for teams from Toronto advancing to the championship round of the four major North American professional sports leagues. Not only was it the first NBA championship won by the franchise, but it was also the first time a team outside the US won. 

The Raptors championship rings put others to shame

The Toronto Raptors' NBA championship rings put the rest to shame.
The Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship rings put the rest to shame. | Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

According to CBS Sports, the 14-karat gold rings are massive. Designed by Baron Championship Rings of Ontario, the Raptors’ new piece of jewelry has several features that make them the most extravagant championship rings ever.

  • A 1.25-carat diamond that sits atop the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That is the largest single diamond in any championship ring ever. 
  • Also on the top are a chevron with the word “North” and the Toronto skyline engraved into it. “World Champions 2019” is engraved on one side of the ring, with the team member’s name and jersey number on the other.
  • There are 74 diamonds on the face of the ring. Those diamonds represent every win on the way to the championship. 
  • Representing all 16 players on the roster are 16 rubies. A 17th ruby represents the Raptors’ home country on the inside of the ring with a Canadian maple leaf engraved around it. 
  • 650 total diamonds weighing in at 14 carats, the rings have the most diamonds of any professional championship ring ever.

According to SportsNet, each player and staffer got to add a personalized engraving on the underside of the ring to make it truly his own.

Players’ reactions to seeing the rings

The Raptors held a ring ceremony before their game against the New Orleans Pelicans so that team members could receive their rings before the regular season tipped off. Players and coaches were in awe as they received their rings. 

In an NBC Sports report, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet told ESPN that the ring is the best one that he has seen as far as championship rings go. He said he would have to figure out how to wear it because it’s a little uncomfortable on his hand.

Coach Nick Nurse let out a loud “woo” as he accepted his ring. Raptors’ guard, Kyle Lowry, said, “This is not a ring you want to wear every day. This is a statement piece.”

Raptors fans got championship rings, too 

The Raptors gave out 20,000 replica rings to well-deserving fans before the season-opening game at Scotiabank Arena. Among the recipients was Canadian-born rapper, Drake. According to Sports Illustrated, Drake made headlines throughout the NBA playoffs while he cheered on his favorite team.

Of course, as with most title-winning teams, the Raptors want more. Serge Ibaka loves life at the top so much, he wants to take up permanent residence there. And he might live that dream. The Raptors could be better than you think this season.