There was a ring ceremony before the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers played the season opener Tuesday at Staples Center. For the Lakers, that means jewels for a NBA title. For the Clippers, that means a phone alert for their Ring home doorbell cameras.
This 16.45-carat, 804-stone ring was for an NBA championship, the Lakers franchise’s 17th but first in 10 years. So they made the rings special … and in a hurry. The most expensive carat-loaded championship ring in history was produced in about a month, rather than the customary three to four, because of the late-finishing season in the Florida “NBA Bubble.”
“I’m used to this,” jeweler Jason Arasheben, who regularly works with NBA players, told ESPN. “Hey Jason, it’s two days from Christmas, but I need you to make this custom piece for me for my wife.”
The rings feature .95 carats of purple amethyst stones to refer to 95 days in the bubble. They form the Lakers “L,” which has 17 stones to represent the Lakers’ 17th championship. There are 15.5 carats of white and yellow diamonds, the .52 yellow carats representing 52 regular-season wins.
Like every championship, it reads “World Champions” but it also says “Unity” to refer to the social justice movement that became a league-wide initiative in the bubble. The Lakers’ motto “Leave a Legacy” is also emblazoned in LeBron James’ handwriting.
Each player has his uniform number on the ring against a snakeskin background to pay homage to Lakers great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. A removable top shows the Staples Center retired uniform rafters.
The Clippers did not make it past the second round of the playoffs, but they had something just as rare waiting for them in their lockers at the shared arena Tuesday – PlayStation 5s. Maybe they can win a ring on NBA 2K21.