An NBA championship and an NBA championship ring are the most sought after prizes by any NBA player. The pinnacle of basketball greatness, many NBA players play their entire basketball careers in the hopes of attaining one.
However, winning the NBA championship, and being awarded an NBA championship ring, is extremely difficult. Few players are able to secure either and many players play their entire careers without ever making it to the NBA Finals.
However, for NBA players who are able to secure an NBA championship win and an NBA championship ring, does the NBA extend the same courtesy to the players wives or girlfriends?
Below, we are going to look at just whether or not NBA wives or girlfriends get a championship ring and just why, or why not, they are deserving of such a valuable prize.
What is an NBA Championship Ring?
The NBA championship ring is a ring awarded to members of the NBA team who win the yearly NBA Finals. Presented the following season, the rings are meant to commemorate the historic run and season of the winning team.
Currently, both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics are tied for the most rings overall by any team, with each team having 17. In addition, former head coach Phil Jackson has the most NBA rings as a coach, with 11, and former player Bill Russell has the most rings for any NBA player, with 11.
Which Jeweler Manufactures the NBA Championship Ring?
Typically, the jeweler whom manufacturers the NBA championship ring has been either L.G. Balfour of Attleboro, Massachusetts or Jostens of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Both L.G. Balfour and Jostens have historically been contracted to create the championship rings of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, including the NFL, MLB, and NHL.
However, in recent years, Tiffany & Co. has been contracted by different leagues to manufacture, design, and create the championship rings of the four major sport leagues.
This is particularly true for the NFL, where Tiffany &. Co. was chosen to manufacture the championship rings for the Buccaneers XXXVII, Giants XLII, saints XLIV, Giants XLVI, and Seahawks XLVII rings.
Who Pays for the NBA Championship Ring?
Contrary to many other professional leagues, most notably the NFL, in the NBA, the owners of the championship team dole out the fee required to manufacture and create the championship rings.
While prices vary, in a typical year, the owner of the championship team can expect to pay between $15,000 to $20,000 per ring. And while the rings are costly to make, the cost is generally offset by the winning proceeds which the owners recoup from winning the championship.
However, and again contrary to popular belief, the individual players do not have to pay for their own championship rings. Rather, the full cost of the rings are the responsibility of the individual team owner.
Who Gets an NBA Championship Ring?
Similarly, when it comes to deciding on who gets a championship ring, the decision is left to the discretion of the individual team owners. As the team owners bear the cost of manufacturing the championship rings, they are also able to limit who is eligible to receive one.
However, contrary to popular belief, it is not just the individual players and coaches of the winning team who receive championship rings. Rather, for most winning teams, the entire front office, managers, trainers, and locker room staff will also receive championship rings.
This is done as a means to support all the personnel who helped the team rise to the challenge of the season and to reward all individual contributors. Similarly, providing all players, coaches, and staff with championship rings helps to boost team morale and motivation, especially as the new season rolls around.
Similarly, some owners may opt to have championship rings manufactured for former players and players who were traded during the regular season. This is particularly true for players who were instrumental in the success of the team and helped lead them to the NBA Finals.
In addition, some NBA owners may also opt to have championship rings created for player’s wives, girlfriends, and significant others. While not a requirement, doing so is seen as a gesture of good will and is typically done as an act of appreciation for the time a player spends away from their family during the regular season.
However, due to the cost of the championship rings, some teams will opt to have ring tiers. The first tier of rings will be more expensive and will be reserved for players and coaching staff. These rings are typically studded with diamonds and are made of precious metals, including platinum and gold.
The second tier will typically be less expensive and will be reserved for the team personnel. The second tier of NBA championship rings will still be valuable but won’t have the costly diamonds and metals embedded throughout.
So, Do NBA Players Wives or Girlfriends Get an NBA Ring?
While the decision on whom receives an NBA championship ring is left to the discretion of the individual team owners, in general, most NBA players’ wives, girlfriends, or fiancé’s will not receive an NBA ring.
This decision is typically made by the management team and the team owners. And while an NBA players wife or girlfriend will play an instrumental role in helping their significant other through the NBA season, they are not official members of the NBA team and are therefore ineligible for an NBA ring.
However, there are exceptions to this general rule. As stated above, as the decision on whom receives an NBA championship ring is left to the discretion of the individual team owners, some NBA players will lobby the team owner to purchase an additional ring for their wife, fiancé, or girlfriend.
Most notably, this was done by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2012 after winning the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat. Having brought an NBA championship back to the city of Miami, the three superstars lobbied team management to provide their respective significant others with an NBA championship ring.