The Los Angeles Lakers received their 2020 championship rings on Tuesday

By Jason Duaine Hahn
December 23, 2020 01:43 PM
Kobe Bryant Lakers Championship Ring
Credit: Harry How/Getty; Lakers/Instagram

The Los Angeles Lakers' 2019-2020 championship rings pay homage to the legacy of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died earlier this year.

The championship hardware was designed by Jason Arasheben — famously known as Jason of Beverly Hills — and was given to Lakers staff and players on Tuesday night following the team's October win. The rings feature more carats of diamonds than any other ring in NBA history.

But behind the glitz and glamour are tributes to a season that was like none other before it.

According to the franchise, the rings feature .95 carats of amethyst (a violet variety of quartz) in acknowledgment of the 95 days the Lakers spent quarantined in Orlando after the NBA decided to continue its season in a "bubble" following the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are also .52 carats of yellow diamonds to represent the team's 52 regular-season wins, along with other nods to the franchise's history.

But the most talked-about aspects of the rings are its tributes to Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

Mamba snakes are featured behind each player's jersey number, which is written on the side of their corresponding ring. The snakes have been associated with Bryant ever since he adopted the "Black Mamba" nickname during the second half of his 20-year NBA career.

The rings also have a removable top that hides all of the franchise's retired jersey numbers, which include two numbers — No. 8 and No. 24, which were Bryant's. But the team placed emphasis on Bryant's jerseys by making them black (all others are gold), which is a reference to the "Black Mamba" uniforms the team wore following his death. The uniforms were designed by Bryant following his retirement from the NBA in 2016.

"We created a removable top that exposes the rafters that are up in Staples Center with [jerseys of] all of the retired Laker greats, with a special emphasis put on Kobe's No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys, and it's set on a snakeskin-texture background," Arasheben told ESPN of the design.

There is also a snake-skin texture behind the other retired jerseys featured on the ring, which include players like Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar.

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"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 told ESPN. "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' next game will be on Christmas Day against the Dallas Mavericks.