American Sports Championships and Their Lavish Championship Jewelry
Sep 27, 2023
Winning a championship in American sports is not only about reveling in the glory and gaining recognition from your peers; it often comes with a much sought-after piece of championship jewelry. Lavish rings are usually bestowed on the champions of the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and Major League Baseball (MLB), symbols of an athlete’s dedication and success. Some players are fortunate enough to win multiple championship rings, while others pray to the sporting Gods, hoping to one day have such jewelry adorn their fingers.
American Football: Super Bowl Rings
The tradition of awarding championship rings in American Football dates back to the inaugural Super Bowl in 1967. Pete Rozelle, the then-NFL Commissioner, wanted to create a lasting memento for the players and staff of the Super Bowl-winning team. Several options were considered before Rozelle settled on a championship ring. The first-ever Super Bowl ring was relatively modest compared to today’s extravagant designs, featuring a single diamond in a white gold setting.
As the NFL regular season heads into its latter stages and the best sports betting app California has to offer begins predicting who will win the Super Bowl, work starts on creating lavish championship rings for the eventual champions. These rings are often massive, sometimes to the point of them almost being unwearable. They are adorned with diamonds and other precious stones and made from gold, platinum, and palladium. Recently, the rings have been customized with the winning team’s identity, the Super Bowl numbers, and even the payer’s name and jersey number.
While most NFL players can only dream of obtaining a Super Bowl ring, some legendary players have been lucky enough to capture several during their careers. Quarterback Tom Brady is the current record holder, having won seven Super Bowl rings between 2001 and 2020. Although now retired from the NFL, Brady’s record haul is unlikely to be beaten, at least not for decades to come.
Basketball: NBA Championship Rings
Elaborate championship rings are synonymous with basketball, especially the NBA, but that has not always been the case. In the early days of the NBA, the overall champions received a relatively modest, plain ring to mark their achievements. The Philadelphia Warriors won the 1947 NBA Finals, and each member of the team and coaching staff received a solid gold ring with a singular diamond in the middle and the team’s name etched into the ring. Those early rings are a far cry from what NBA champions receive today.
NBA players are known for their extravagant fashion sense, and this extends into the modern-day championship rings. Since the 1980s, NBA Finals rings have featured intricate designs featuring the winning team’s colors, and with individual players having custom rings made for them.
The 1993 ring awarded to the Chicago Bulls took matters a step further, encrusting the ring with diamonds and featuring a prominent ruby bull’s head as its feature stone. The ring the Golden State Warriors received in 2022 is worth an estimated $70,000 to $100,000 due to its sheer number of diamonds!
Although Michael Jordan is regarded as the greatest basketball player to have ever stepped onto an NBA court, he “only” managed to win six championship rings. Most of the players who have won more rings than Jordan played for the iconic Boston Celtics team of the late 1950s and through the 1960s. Bill Russell, a Basketball Hall of Famer, collected 11 championship rings before hanging up his boots in 1969. Such a feat is unlikely ever to be repeated.
Baseball: World Series Rings
The MLB’s World Series-winning team receives the famous Commissioner’s Trophy, which is returned at the end of the following season. The MLB management created the World Series ring to give as an individual award to players and staff on the World Series-winning team. Over the years, iconic jewelers like Jostens, Tiffany & Co. Dieges & Clust, and L.G. Balfour Company have been commissioned to create World Series rings.
The New York Giants, now known as the San Francisco Giants, received the first World Series rings in 1922. By the mid-1920s, every team gave their players a commemorative ring to mark their achievements.
Like the rings awarded in the NFL and NBA, MLB World Series rings started life with a simple one-diamond design before becoming more flamboyant over time. For example, the 2003 World Series ring contained 229 diamonds, one teal diamond, and 13 rubies set on a 14-carat white gold ring. It is considered one of the most expensive World Series rings ever, costing $40,000 at the time.
The legendary Yogi Berra won ten World Series rings, the most as a player, while Frankie Crosetti collected 17 as a player and a coach. Some of the older rings fetch a lot of money at auction. Controversial actor Charlie Sheen sold a 1927 New York Yankees ring at auction for over $2 million in 2017.
Championship jewelry in American sports represents much more than a simple material possession. They symbolize years of blood, sweat, tears, dedication, and teamwork. They have become symbols of players and coaching staff reaching the summit of their professions. Super Bowl rings are now intrinsically linked to being symbols of victory, while NBA Finals rings showcase the artistry and opulence associated with one of America’s most popular sports.
Much like the medals received at the Olympic Games, championship rings are a cherished part of the sport in which they are awarded. They are celebrated not only by those players and team members fortunate enough to receive one but also by the legion of fans and supporters who idolize those ring winners.
Are the rings over the top? Possibly. Are the rings garish? Without a doubt. Does every sportsperson want to win at least one during their career? You can bet your bottom dollar that winning a championship ring is all they think about each and every season.