Kestenbaum & Weisner Fine Jewelry

Hoop Dreams: NBA Championship Rings

 

You need world-class skill, teamwork and inspiration to win an NBA championship. You need the same qualities to make a NBA championship ring.

To find out what it takes to make an NBA championship ring, we interviewed executives at Jostens and Jason of Beverly Hills. Both companies have designed and manufactured these ultimate status symbols for professional players.

Jostens is one of the most prolific producers of championship rings. Its resume includes 46 NBA championship rings, 31 Super Bowl rings, Major League Baseball World Series rings, National Hockey League Stanley Cup championship rings, NASCAR rings, Major League Soccer championship rings and hundreds of college and high school championship rings. It most recently designed and made NBA championship rings for the Miami Heat, winners of the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons.

The Miami HEAT ring posed a unique design challenge. Recreating the logo – 0.5 carat diamond basketball swooshing through a net – was particularly difficult, according to Jostens. The ring also had a secret message on the side panel. Underneath the Larry O’Brien trophy are 16 lines made of 14K gold. Head coach Erik Spoelstra brought a trophy into the locker room when the team made the playoffs. He told the players that they needed 16 games to become champions, and each time the team won a game, he put a notch in the trophy.

Jostens’ 2013 NBA championship ring for the Miami HEAT was equally impressive: It boasted 10.3 carats worth of diamonds – the current record holder for the largest amount of diamonds in a Jostens’ basketball championship ring.

rings

Jason of Beverly Hills has made three NBA Championship rings since 2009. The company most recently crafted the 2014-2015 Golden State Warriors championship ring (Steph Curry proudly wears it), and the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 rings for the Los Angeles Lakers.

More than 6 carats of diamonds and blue sapphires decorate the 2015 NBA championship ring for the Golden State Warriors. It also features impressive workmanship, symbolism and hidden messages. The 240 diamonds in the ring stand for the team’s wins under the current ownership. The circular top is a nod to the shape of the Warriors jersey logo and the and the shape of a basketball. The custom-made 67% pure gold (approximately 16K) used in the Golden Gate Bridge and the players’ numbers represent the Warrior’s 67 wins in the season.

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Golden State Warriors Championship Ring for the 2014-15 Season. Courtesy: Jason of Beverly Hills

DESIGNING THE RING

Designing an NBA championship ring is a sprint in creativity and skill. Once the final shot is taken, Jostens and Jason of Beverly Hills rush to beat another buzzer: they will have about four months to
design and make the ring, which is presented to the players on opening day of the next season. Designs are shown to the team. The team owners pick a vendor. A budget is set for the entire project and the amount to be spent on each ring. This varies from team to team. The goal is to make the championship story come to life in gold, diamonds and other gemstones.

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The 1993 Chicago Bulls NBA Championship ring featuring a 3D Bulls logo is proudly worn by Michael Jordan ©Jostens, Inc

 

 

 

 

EVOLUTION OF NBA CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS

Championship rings have changed over the decades. According to Chris Poitras, vice president, sports marketing and development at Jostens, “Championship rings have changed from simple symbols of victory to a sophisticated extension of the team’s brand. Since these brands are iconic, the logo, font and important moments are worked into the design, making the finished product a retelling of the team’s path to victory and a reflection of the franchise.”

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©Jostens, Inc

Turning the ring into a brand extension requires a larger canvas, and that means a larger ring. Bigger athletes have also contributed to ever-increasing ring sizes. The Boston Celtics 1969 NBA championship ring by Jostens is a dramatic example of how they’ve evolved. Considered cutting edge at the time because a diamond was set on top of the basketball crest, the Boston Celtics ring features a 0.5 ct diamond set in 10K yellow gold.

PERSONALIZING THE RING

NBA championship rings are a study in personalization. A player’s name and jersey number are usually engraved in the shank. The number of gemstones used may represent the number of players on the team roster or a key milestone in the team’s season or history. The team’s motto, jersey numbers of the players, final scores of important games, and other significant details are subtly incorporated into the design.

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©Jostens, Inc

The 14K white gold ring Dallas Mavericks championship ring has more than 250 brilliant round and princess cut diamonds with a total weight of approximately 10 carats. Jostens’ 2011 NBA championship ring for the Dallas Mavericks is an example of this impressive craftsmanship and rich symbolism. Six individual pieces were needed to make the Mavericks’ logo, part of the 14 total ring components. Another 31 custom princess-cut diamonds surround it, representing each year the Dallas Mavericks have been in the NBA. Flush set around the rest of the ring top are round brilliant diamonds.

The player’s name and a single star appear on the side panel, which symbolizes the Mavericks’ first championship. The other side panel has a star set with one round brilliant diamond. The Mavericks “M” is set with 15 round brilliant cut diamonds representing the 15 players on the championship roster.

PERSONALIZING THE L.A. LAKERS RINGS

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Courtesy: Jason of Beverly Hills

Jason of Beverly Hills used 15K gold for the L.A. Lakers 15th championship.

When the L.A. Lakers won its 15th championship for the 2008-2009 season, Jason of Beverly Hills set 15 large round brilliant diamonds weighing 2.85 cts. on the table to commemorate it. The company also used 15K gold to celebrate the milestone. The Lakers’ rings mirror the shape of the exterior of their home arena, the Staples Center. When viewed from the side, the “roof” and “sides” are visible. Every player’s face was etched in into the side of the ring. CAD/CAM and 3D printing was used to create the images. Kobe Bryant and his team members are each immortalized in their own ring.

THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP RING CEREMONY

Under the bright lights of opening night of the new season, the players receive their rings. So does everyone who works for the franchise. It’s a thrilling moment. The championship ring is now a permanent tribute to the accomplishment of the past season.

 

 

 

 

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This entry was published on June 10, 2016 at 12:35 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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