Warriors celebrate NBA title with reversible rings featuring diamonds and sapphires

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors celebrated Ring Night in style prior to their regular-season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.

In honor of their 2017-18 NBA championship, players, coaches and owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber received their rings from NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The players' rings came down on specialized wires from the top of Oracle Arena as a sellout crowd roared its approval.

"Last year was an unbelievable journey," Warriors superstar Stephen Curry said during a brief address to the crowd. "Let's celebrate this to the fullest."

Curry then made it a point to introduce longtime equipment manager Eric Housen to the crowd as Housen jogged over to be with the players as the 2017-18 banner was revealed in the arena's rafters.

The top of each ring is reversible. Seventy-four sapphires on the "blue" side represent the number of wins (regular season and playoff) by the Warriors last season. On the "white" side, 74 diamonds represent the win total.

The Warriors' mantra, "Strength in Numbers," is revealed when the ring's top is twisted off.

"It's special," Curry said after the game. "I remember looking up, there was only Philadelphia Warriors banners and the '74-'75 team. To come into Oracle every night and in our practice facility and look on the wall up in the rafters and see three championship banners we've brought back to the Bay, that's amazing. Kind of reminisce on the journey in those little moments. Obviously, we're still trying to go for more so it's really hard in terms of putting it all into perspective, but nights like tonight are where you really kind of sit back and feel really proud about what we've accomplished."

Warriors personnel wore big smiles as they picked up their latest jewelry. Back-to-back Finals MVP Kevin Durant was introduced last to the crowd. But he downplayed any significance of being last, saying he enjoyed the moment and appreciated the work put into the rings. Lacob put all three of his championship rings on at once as the players wore warm-up jackets emblazoned in gold print with "The Champions" and "Back to Back" sewn underneath.

The importance of the proceedings was not lost on Curry.

"It was cool," Curry said. "I was telling somebody, the third time around it's still an amazing experience. You know what to expect a little bit, obviously with the surprise of the rings coming down from the ceiling, but you don't want to let it go by without you really kind of embracing the moment and enjoying it."

Before the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr referenced Lacob's opening statement to fans in 2010 as a way to describe just how far the organization has come since the new ownership group took over.

"It's funny, I find myself now thinking about the famous Joe Lacob night when he said we're going to hang another one," Kerr said. "And everybody laughed. I laughed. I was at home [thinking], 'Come on, the Warriors?' So Joe set the goal that night."

As Kerr reminisced, he thought back to all the talent and good fortune that has come the Warriors' way in recent years. The group has won three of the past four NBA championships and is seeking to become the first team to earn five straight NBA Finals appearances since the mid-1960s Boston Celtics.

"I think there was a young guy named Steph Curry in the building," Kerr said. "Who this whole thing has sort of revolved around in many ways as it's all crystallized. I always look at the teams I've played for and why they worked. Chicago was all about Michael Jordan, but then you think of all the great players around Michael. Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc. You realize you have to have that -- that first domino has to fall. Michael was the first domino [for the Bulls]. David Robinson was the first domino to fall in San Antonio. And then it requires some luck."

The Warriors have had plenty of that as well as plenty of skilled planning to put themselves in this position. The group knows it has the chance to do something very special this season by winning back-to-back-to-back titles for the first time since the 2000-02 Los Angeles Lakers.

"Maybe you get Tim Duncan in the lottery, too," Kerr continued. "Maybe you get Draymond Green with the 35th pick. And as Bob [Myers] always said, if we were that smart, we wouldn't have taken him 35th. We would have taken him a lot earlier. So there's a lot of luck involved -- but I think that there's a structure that has to be in place that Joe immediately went to work on when he bought this team with Peter [Guber]. And tonight is a night to sort of reflect on that and then all of a sudden you warm up and you got to play the Oklahoma City Thunder."

As the Warriors continue their championship reign, Curry says he knows that the emotions that come out on Ring Night never get old.

"I know where we've been," Curry said. "I don't think I'll ever be at a point where you just -- where it's just kind of a blah moment. Just seeing the ring and seeing the banner come down and seeing all those trophies so. If that ever happens, I hope somebody just slaps me in the face, smack some sense into me, because this is a special opportunity we have every night. We get to play basketball, we get to go chase a trophy, chase a championship. That will never get old."

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