Lakers honour Kobe Bryant with tributes on championship ring

Watch the players from the Los Angeles Lakers receive their 2019-20 Championship rings, presented by family members in a pre-game ceremony.

The past 12 months have been nothing but emotional for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The organization lost one of its all-time greats in January when Kobe Bryant and his daughter were among the victims of a helicopter crash. Then, players had to endure nearly 100 days in a bubble during a world-changing pandemic to win a 17th championship.

On Tuesday, all of the events of the past year were brought together and recognized when the players and staff were presented with their championship rings.

The ring honours Bryant by featuring a Black Mamba snake circling each player’s personal number. It also includes a removable top, with the Lakers banners in the Staples Center underneath and a special emphasis made to Bryant’s two retired numbers.

The rings, designed by Beverley Hills-based jeweller Jason Arasheben, are personalized with each player’s name and feature 17 purple amethyst stones in the shape of an “L.” The No. 17 represents the 17th championship win, and each stone weighs .95 carats to represent the 95 days the team spent in the Florida bubble.

In all, each ring is made up of 804 stones and weighs 16.45 carats.

“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 than any other ring in history,” Arasheben said in an interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I mean, this ring, we really wanted to make a statement. It’s been 10 years since the Lakers have won. We wanted to come out and really make a statement and really reward these players for a job well done.”

The Lakers were presented with their rings before Tuesday’s home opener against the Clippers, only 71 days after winning the title. Each player was presented with his ring via a video featuring family members. For LeBron James, the video also included children who attend his “I Promise School.”

No fans were in attendance at Staples Centre for the game, and the club is waiting until fans are allowed to return before unveiling its championship banner.

“You showed last year what a talented group of individuals can accomplish if they buy into being a team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said in a speech, directed towards the players. “To our fans, we cannot wait until it is safe enough for you guys to be back at Staples Center so we can perform in front of you and celebrate all this stuff with you guys. We thank you and we love you.”

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