April 06, 2011
Most NBA players spend their entire NBA careers looking for a championship, and very few get to reach that level of success. Much-maligned bust and Wolves big man Darko Milicic(notes), however, had the good fortune of winning a ring in his first NBA season with the 2004 Detroit Pistons. He didn't play much and became one of the most mocked rookies in history. In fact, his most memorable moment of the season was breaking his hand in the deciding Game 5 against the Lakers and not being subbed out despite pleading with head coach Larry Brown for a spot on the bench.
Still, Darko won his ring. Except he's now going to give it and a few other exciting prizes away as a grand prize in a raffle for charity. The Celebrities for Charity Foundation has the details:
*Winner will receive Darko Milicic's 2004 Detroit Pistons NBA Championship Ring
*Winner will receive Darko Milicic's 2004 Detroit Pistons Championship "wrestling style" belt
*Winner and guest will enjoy tickets to a 2011 NBA Finals game (game to be determined)
*Winner and guest will receive two (2) nights hotel accommodations in NBA Finals game host city (single room, double occupancy)
*Winner and guest will each receive, as necessary to attend the game, coach airfare to the game city ($2,000.00 total limit)
*Winner will receive a $500.00 allowance for meals, ground transportation and other expenses
*Winner will receive an autographed Darko Milicic Jersey
*Winner will receive a cash prize in the amount of $12,554.00 to mitigate the Winner's tax liability that results from winning the raffle. This prize is withheld and paid, on behalf of the Winner, directly to the IRS ($10,376.00) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ($2,179.00)
Tickets cost $2 apiece, although there is a minimum purchase of five tickets. It may seem weird that Darko would give away the one item all basketball players are supposed to cherish, but his experience in Detroit wasn't exactly glorious, and Ron Artest set some precedent for this kind of charity when he raffled off his championship ring for the cause of mental health awareness. This is a wonderful gesture any way you look at it.
However, the real prize here isn't necessarily the ring -- it's the championship belt. Many players can claim to have a championship ring? How many have an NBA belt modeled after the top honor in wrestling?