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Ball Don't Lie

3 of ex-Laker A.C. Green’s NBA championship rings stolen from his home, according to police

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

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A.C. Green battles with Kevin McHale during the 1987 NBA Finals. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

He was never a star performer on the order of teammates Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or James Worthy, but for the first nine years of his career, A.C. Green was an integral part of the Los Angeles Lakers — a rough and ready rebounder and defender at power forward who did the dirty work that helped underpin Pat Riley's Showtime squad as it repeatedly ran deep into the postseason, winning NBA championships following the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons. His hard-nosed play and insane durability — he played in an NBA-record 1,192 consecutive games between Nov. 19, 1986, and April 18, 2001, when he was a member of the Miami Heat — endeared him to fans, inspiring a Laker comeback for the '99-'00 season, where he won a third title as part of the Shaquille O'Neal-and-Kobe Bryant-led team that won 67 games and the first of two straight titles under Phil Jackson.

[Also: Allen Iverson returns to Philadelphia for bobblehead night]

Never a star, always a hardworking dude who emphasized fitness, spirituality and character (and, yes, sexual abstinence) always willing to do whatever his coach required to help the team ... man, it sucks when a guy like that gets ripped off, as Green recently was in a theft that reportedly cost him three NBA championship rings.

Police suspect the rings were stolen by "day laborers he hired to move some belongings into storage" from his Palos Verdes Estates house, according to Larry Altman of the (Torrance, Calif.) Daily Breeze:

Each gold ring, encrusted with diamonds and bearing the name and No. 45 jersey number of the Showtime-era forward, is estimated to be worth $25,000.

"To him, priceless," Palos Verdes Estates police Sgt. Steve Barber said. "They are worth a lot of money, especially to somebody who is a collector. It's going to be really difficult for somebody to pawn it off. "

The rings honor two of Green's three championships as a player over the Boston Celtics in 1987 and Indiana Pacers in 2000. The team apparently presented the retired player with a ring in 2009 when the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic for the title, police said. [...]

According to police reports, Green hired the day laborers at Hawthorne Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance on March 20. After the work was done, Green returned home and found that the boxes containing his rings were missing.

A fourth championship ring — Green's third as a player, coming as as a member of the 1987-88 Lakers team that went 62-20 and survived seven-game wars against the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons to claim their second consecutive title — wasn't reported stolen, according to police. Thank heaven for small mercies, I suppose.

Despite the fact that, as Barber notes, it's pretty tough to successfully sell and get actual value for such clearly stolen and easily identifiable merchandise, this kind of thing happens depressingly often.

[Also: Kobe injury adds to Lakers woes as they hobble toward finish line]

Philadelphia Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe have both had World Series rings stolen in recent years; former Tampa Bay Rays starter Matt Garza's American League Championship ring was robbed, too. North of the border, late Canadian Football League great Bobby Kuntz's 1965 Grey Cup championship ring was stolen during a January home invasion; a month earlier, the same awful fate befell Shelley Chaplin, who had received a ring as a member of the Australian women's national wheelchair basketball team at the 2012 Paralympics in London.

The hope is that Green is able to be reunited with his championship jewelry, as ex-San Antonio Spurs point guard Johnny Moore was after his nephew allegedly stole three rings from him last fall, and as football players John Barresi and Art Donovan were ... although we'd certainly love it if, rather than that process taking 17 or 34 years, he gets it back on a much more expedited schedule, like former Chicago Bear Stefan Humprhies getting his stolen Super Bowl XX ring back within a month of its theft. And if the reunion can coincide with the arrest of the ring's thieves, as was the case when a none-too-bright criminal tried to sell Maya Moore's 2012 Summer Olympic ring to a suburban Atlanta jeweler and was promptly arrested, then so much the better.

So, hey, if you can help that happen, police ask anyone with information about the theft to call the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department at 310-378-4211.

"We put out our bulletin to all the local agencies to get the word out," Barber told Altman. "Now with this story, the public will know and we can hopefully get their help. There are plenty of Laker fans in L.A. who wouldn't want one of the best players who played for them in a long time to lose his rings."

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