The greatest players are often measured by how many rings they have in the NBA because rings equal championships. Yes, players who win championships in the NBA get their championship rings. And the more championship rings a player has, the more championships they have won.
We all know that the championship trophy that the team hoists at the end of the Finals after winning the NBA championship is paid for by the NBA itself. However, the championship rings given to the players are entirely different. So, who pays for NBA championship rings?
What is a Championship Ring?
The championship ring has always been a symbol in American sports because it symbolizes the success that the player has had in their respective sport. In basketball or the NBA, in particular, the championship ring has always been one of the measures of success used whenever people talk about a player’s greatness. But what exactly is a championship ring?
A championship ring is simply what it is, and that is a championship ring. In a more detailed explanation, the ring symbolizes the championship that the player won in the NBA. It is, in a way, the counterpart of a medal that is won by athletes in the Olympics or any other world sport. And the reason why the players are given championship rings is that only one trophy is awarded to the team upon winning the NBA championship. The only way for the players to commemorate their victory as individuals is through their championship rings.
In the NBA, the championship ring has always been a measure of success because of how players are often judged not by the number of trophies they won but the number of rings they won. For example, Bill Russell is often considered the greatest winner in the NBA because of his 11 rings. Meanwhile, Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest of all time, has six championship rings.
Who Gets a Championship Ring? Players, Coaches, Mascots?
We mentioned that the organization that wins an NBA championship gets the opportunity to have its championship rings. These rings are awarded to the organization members who were able to contribute a lot to the success of the team in winning an NBA championship. But who exactly gets a championship ring?
The players get championship rings because they are the ones who shed their blood and sweat out on the court to win the title for the team. Meanwhile, the coaching staff members, who are responsible for coming up with the winning strategies, get their championship rings as well. However, the managers, the members of the training staff, and the front office employees and officers also get their championship rings.
But, in most cases, it depends almost entirely on the organization that won the NBA championship. After all, the decision to give out championship rings is not the prerogative of the NBA but is left to the team’s choice. In most cases, teams that have won their first championship or were finally able to end a long championship drought usually splurge on their rings, such that they give out rings to as many people in the organization as possible.
One good example is the championship victory of the Toronto Raptors. Given that the Raptors won their first title in 2019, the organization was not shy about handing out championship rings to almost all of the organization’s members. The Raptors handed out five tiers of championship rings. A higher tier denoted a more expensive ring. Tier 1 ring receivers included the players, coaches, Drake, Super Fan Nav Bhatia, and the Raptors Mascot. Meanwhile, the lower-tiered rings were handed out to the less-important members of the organization. Those who attended the opening night for the Raptors in 2020 even received tier 5 rings.
However, some teams are a bit too conservative when handing out championship rings, especially if those teams have won multiple titles in a short period. For example, the Golden State Warriors, who won three championships in four years, might have only given out rings to the most important members of the organization during the second and third championship victories.
In most cases, the organization that won the title has two tiers of rings instead of the five-tier championship rings that the Raptors had. The first tier of rings is the more expensive and usually handed out to the players and the coaches because they are the most important pieces of the championship win. Meanwhile, the second tier of rings is handed out to those who contributed to the championship but to a lesser degree. These include the medical and training staff and the other members of the working personnel.
So, in short, the decision of who gets rings in an NBA championship rests solely on the top dogs of the organization. In most cases, the ones who decide are the team owner. But there are also cases when the owners are not as hands-on with their team and would rather leave the decision to the organization’s top executives like the Team President or the General Manager. In any case, it is the owners or the top executives who decide who gets a ring.
How Much Does an NBA Championship Ring Cost?
The cost of an NBA championship is also dependent on the team that won the championship because the decision to give out championship rings is a prerogative of the organization itself. In most cases, the first tier of championship rings usually costs somewhere north of $15,000. However, it is not odd for the new NBA champions to outdo the previous champions by spending more on their championship rings.
Championship rings complete with diamonds and rubies usually cost around $20,000. The most expensive NBA championship rings ever belong to the 2019-2020 Los Angeles Lakers. The 2020 Lakers championship ring is worth more than $20,000. Meanwhile, the rings themselves are the heaviest in carat weight in NBA history and have 804 stones and 15.50 carats of white and yellow diamonds.
Meanwhile, the 2021 NBA championship rings of the Milwaukee Bucks are full of diamonds and are said to be in the same ballpark as the Lakers’ 2020 rings in terms of their price. However, there was never a clear estimation of how much the Bucks 2021 rings are worth.
In any other case, it is estimated that a championship ring is right around at least $15,000. But, because teams are looking to splurge on championship rings that are getting more extravagant and more detailed every single year, it can be possible that we could one day see championship rings that cost $25,000 or higher.
Who Pays for NBA Championship Rings?
Now that you know what an NBA championship ring is for, who gets a championship ring, and how much these rings cost, you might be wondering who pays for NBA championship rings. The simple answer is that the team itself is responsible for shouldering the expenses of an NBA championship ring. It is not the NBA’s responsibility to pay for the rings because giving out championship rings is entirely the organization’s prerogative.
Specifically speaking, the team owners are the ones shouldering the cost of the NBA championship rings because they are the ones who are making money out of the organization that they own.
For those wondering if the players pay for NBA championship rings, you should know that not even the players spend a single dollar on their championship rings, as the expenses are taken from the organization’s profits throughout the team’s championship run.
Of course, while the championship rings may be quite expensive, the team owners make more than enough money to cover the expenses. That is because winning a championship opens up more opportunities for profit for the entire organization. The ticket and merchandise sales are going to soar for any team that has just won a title, and that means that the team will have more than enough money to shoulder the expensive price tag that comes with the NBA championship rings.
Wrapping Things Up: Who Pays for NBA Championship Rings?
The NBA is not the one responsible for dictating who gets a championship ring and how much a championship ring should cost because the league is not the one spending for the rings. Instead, the decision to give out rings and spend as much money as possible on these title rings is solely the prerogative of the team or the owners who profit out of the organization that they own. And yes, there are times when even the mascots get their title rings.
In that regard, think of the championship rings as the gifts of the team owners to their players, coaches, and other staff members for a job well done in bringing the championship to the organization. After all, a championship win brings more value to the team. And that is why team owners are not shy about spending a lot of money on championship rings.
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Cover photo by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / modified from original