October 27, 2010
With championship rings, especially in the NBA, getting more and more elaborate every year, the Lakers knew they had to do something to make their most recent finals reward stand out from all the others. Something bigger than the rings they took in last year, but perhaps a little more understated than, say, outfitting each of them with a personalized, talking hologram.
So, with team owner Dr. Jerry Buss' blessing, the Lakers added a special twist to the rings they received in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Each of the 60 rings (handed out to players, coaches and organization personnel) include leather bits made from cut up pieces of the ball that was used in last June's Game 7.
The leather strips are included on the underside of the ring, and it seems like a nice little touch, especially as these rocks (that Phil Jackson called "unwearable" before Tuesday night's opener) get more and more ostentatious.
Beyond the leather, there are over three karats worth of diamonds (including 16 oversized diamonds symbolic of the team's 16 championships), and to hear Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles tell it, "a 3-dimensional sculpture of his face, an upgrade from the laser-cut faces on the 2009 rings." The upgrade is courtesy Jason of Beverly Hills, if you're interested.
[Flashback: LeBron James' $10,000 trinket surfaces at yard sale]
Tuesday's ring ceremony offered another nice touch in the way it allowed each Laker to introduce their teammates, handing the mic over after offering a few reverent sentiments. Nothing really stood out -- a beaming Ron Artest(notes) didn't say anything outrageous -- though special assistant coach Rasheed Hazzard (son of NBA legend and former Laker executive Walt Hazzard) could not have been happy at being passed over by also-legendary Laker public address announcer Lawrence Tanter during the introductions of the assistant coaches.
Look at how he awkwardly tries to get into the frame after Tanter calls Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's name out. If the Lakers win it again this year, I say they pass over Kareem next October. It's only fair.
Though Los Angeles fell behind early, the defending champs did hold on to win by a 112-110 score.
[Related: NBA star's title ring is for sale]