NBA champions’ gold

NBA champions’ gold



The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most popular leagues in the world of professional sports. Moreover, it stands out due to not only the highest level of play, but also unique rewards. We’re talking about NBA gold rings. At the end of the final series of matches, the champion team receives the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and the best basketball players are awarded with gold rings encrusted with precious stones. 

The history of championship rings began in 1922. But the real “cult of rings” in the NBA started only in the 70s. From that moment on, every year they became more and more complex, more expensive and heavier. From ordinary decoration, the winners’ rings have turned into a real work of art, which is usually kept in a safe deposit box.

Photo caption: The most luxurious championship rings of the 21st century.


Championship rings for all American leagues are usually made by L. G. Balfour and Jostens. For the rings, 10, 14 or 18 carat gold is used. Their design is developed personally for each winning team. The number of diamonds can reach several hundred — one stone for each point scored during the game. In addition to diamonds and sapphires, elements associated with the city, logo and team mascots are used as decoration. 

Photo caption: Golden State’s 2015 championship ring, featuring the team’s logo.


Who can receive the ring?

Nowadays, clubs order about 300-500 rings of different types after a victory. Massive rings are usually divided into three categories:

1. Category А

Championship rings made of gold with precious stones. They are received by the main team players and coaches.

2. Category В

They are also made of gold, but without precious stones. They are presented to club employees: assistants or players who are in the status of free agents.

3. Category С

Gold rings of the third category are awarded to friends and relatives who support the players. 

Interesting fact: initially, rings were received by those who were not directly involved in the victory: former and reserve players, coaches, investors, whose names were not on the cup. Currently, rings are given to people associated with the championship award. They also include friends and relatives of the players.

Bill Russell is currently the most decorated player in NBA history. During his sports career, he received 11 championship rings, two of which he won as a player-coach. The cost of one of the most expensive rings, awarded in 1975, is more than 705 thousand dollars. 

Photo caption: Bill Russell’s first championship ring


The gold ring features a three-leaf clover, the symbol of Russell’s team. In the center the number 6 is placed, indicating the athlete’s playing number. 

Another legendary basketball player, Michael Jordan, also has a large collection of championship rings. During his sports career, he received six gold rings. 

Photo caption: Michael Jordan’s collection of championship rings


Jordan’s rings are made of the precious metal and decorated with diamonds, sapphires and rubies. The main element on three of the six rings was the head of a bull — the symbol of the Chicago Bulls team. 

For the NBA, gold is not just a metal, but a symbol of greatness and willpower. Thus, championship rings represent an entire era in the history of professional basketball. As the athletes themselves noted, they capture not only victories, but also the spirit of competition. Winners’ rings are passed down from generation to generation, remaining a testament to the great achievements of basketball teams. They become a source of inspiration for young athletes, motivating them to strive for greater results and leave their mark on history. 

By the way, gold has symbolized victory in various sports for many decades. One of the most popular awards made of the precious metal is the FIFA World Cup Trophy. At the moment, its value is hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

How much gold did it take to make the most coveted trophy in the world of football? You will find out the answer by reading one of our previous articles:

Gold and football: the precious World Cup