In an incredible ceremony ahead of their season opener on Tuesday night at Staples Center, the Los Angeles Lakers were given their NBA championship rings that were earned just over two months ago when LeBron James and Anthony Davis led the team to the franchise’s 17th title, tied for the most in NBA history with the Boston Celtics.
While jewelry makers usually have way more time to design NBA championship rings, this year was a little different as there were only 72 days between the time the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and Tuesday night’s ring ceremony, putting lead designer Jason Arasheben in a tight spot. But he and his team were able to pull it off and the rings that were presented to the Lakers were stunning, symbolic, and also the most expensive in league history.
The LA Lakers’ ring ceremony was incredible
Before we get to the ring in itself, it must be noted just how amazing the LA Lakers’ ring ceremony was. In a normal year, a team owner or president would hand the rings out one by one but 2020 has been anything but normal. But the Lakers improvised and pulled off a fantastic presentation even without having fans in the stands, which is why they chose not to unveil their championship banner.
So instead of having Jeanie Buss hand the rings out, they were placed on individual pedestals at midcourt so everyone could just walk up and grab theirs when their name was called. But instead of just having the PA announcer call out the names, everyone was given their own individual presentation in which family members did the honors.
And the beautiful part was that the players, coaches, and staff had no idea it was coming. It really was a unique way to hand out championship rings and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more of that in the future. Very cool stuff from the Lakers there.
The championship rings honor Kobe Bryant and the social justice movement
We’ll get to the full details of the LA Lakers’ championship rings in just a moment but a few details that really stood out were the tributes to Kobe Bryant and the social justice movement.
Bryant, who played 20 seasons for the Lakers and was tragically killed in a helicopter accident this past January, had multiple tributes paid to him on the ring. First, encircling every player’s uniform number on the ring is a Black Mamba snake, which, of course, was Kobe’s famous nickname.
Then, on the ring’s first-of-its-kind removable top, all the retired LA Lakers’ jerseys are revealed with an emphasis on No. 8 and No. 24, which were the two numbers Bryant wore with the team during his 20 seasons. As an added bonus, the background behind the jerseys is a snakeskin texture. Quite the wonderful tribute to the Lakers legend.
As the social justice movement was a huge part of the Lakers’ run toward a title in the Orlando bubble, the removable top of the ring also features the word “Unity” on it with the player’s name in the background.
The LA Lakers’ championship rings are insanely detailed and the most expensive in NBA history
In addition to the tributes to the social justice movement and Kobe Bryant, the LA Lakers’ 2020 championship rings are insanely detailed, as Jason Arasheben, who has designed five NBA championship rings in the past, including two for the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, explained to Robb Report.
As for the Lakers’ “L” logo on the rings, there are 17 purple amethyst stones embedded in it, each weighing .95 carats. The 17 stones symbolize LA’s 17 NBA titles and the .95-carat weight represents the 95 days the team spent in the Orlando bubble. There are also 17 trophies around each to mark the 17 championships. Each ring also contains .52 carats of yellow diamonds, which speaks to LA’s 52 regular-season wins in 2019-2020.
In total, each of the championship rings weighs 16.45 carats and features 804 stones. There’s no symbolism in those numbers but taking into account the weight in gold and the carats of diamond, Arasheben confirmed that these rings are the most expensive in NBA history, eclipsing the ones given last year to the Toronto Raptors. However, when asked exactly how much they’re worth, Arasheben said he couldn’t put an exact dollar amount on it, instead opting to call them “priceless.”