The Los Angeles Lakers received their championship rings Tuesday night in a ceremony before their NBA season opener against the LA Clippers, an event made much more impactful by a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers’ rings honored Bryant in clever, fashionable ways, including a Mamba snake behind each player’s number.
Bryant, who adopted the “Black Mamba” nickname during the latter half of his 20-year NBA career, died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
Tuesday, the rings were the things.
They have a removable top that hides all the Lakers franchise’s retired jersey numbers, two of which, No. 8 and No. 24, belonged to Bryant – in black (all others are gold) to represent the Bryant-designed “Black Mamba” uniforms the team wore following his death.
“Just a weird day celebrating an historic moment with our franchise and an historic run with what we did last year and then having to do it without our family and friends and our fans,” LeBron James said.
James, via Instagram, posted a picture of him receiving his ring with an image of Kobe looking on.
The rings aren’t cheap, estimated at $100,000 each.
Designed by Jason Arasheben, “Jason of Beverly Hills,” the rings were given to Lakers staff and players to celebrate the October championship.
“This ring eclipses last year’s NBA championship ring as the most valuable NBA championship ring in history, with the most amount of diamond carat weight of any other ring in history,” Arasheben told ESPN. Each ring has 804 stones with a total 16.45 carat weight.
A Lakers release says that the 17 purple amethyst stones making up the “L” each weigh .95 carats, representing the team’s 17 championship wins and the 95 days the Lakers spent quarantined in Orlando. There are also .52 carats of yellow diamonds to represent the team’s 52 regular-season wins.