Kobe Bryant added another diamond ring to his collection of Lakers bling. Before his final game as an NBA player, Lakers owner and president Jeanie Buss presented the 20-year superstar with a dazzling diamond retirement ring in a private ceremony with his wife, Vanessa — who received a matching ring — and their daughters, Gianna and Natalia. Bryant, in true Hollywood style, scored an astounding 60 points in his final contest.
“You changed history,” Buss told Bryant in a segment captured by Time Warner Cable SportsNet. “There is no going back and comparing you to anybody, because nobody’s ever been like you. And we’re so fortunate that you were part of our franchise and part of our history.”
According to a Lakers press release, the ring was designed by renown jeweler Jason of Beverly Hills and features round white diamonds with a total carat weight of 4.87 carats set into 70 grams of 14-karat yellow and white gold.
On the sides are Bryant’s two jersey numbers and his nickname “Black Mamba” with a swirl of black snakeskin. Between his first and last names on the front of the ring are 20 diamonds representing every season Bryant spent with the Lakers. The top depicts the Larry O’Brien championship trophy and five larger diamonds for each title won.
On one side, “TWENTY YEARS” sits above a No. 8 Lakers jersey along with the years 1996 and 2005, the timeframe during which it was worn. The other side features a No. 24 jersey and the years 2006 and 2016.
Bryant remarked, “Wow, are you kidding me?” while opening the ring box.
Buss’ brother and Lakers co-owner, Jesse Buss, honored Bryant on Facebook with a heartfelt tribute. Reflecting on his youth, Buss recalled a family trip to the beach when he was 8 years old. His dad, then-owner Jerry Buss, was walking to and from telephones talking to then-general manager Jerry West, who was raving about a draft prospect named Kobe Bryant. When he returned to his family, Jerry Buss told them, “There’s this kid, Kobe, who is going to be the next great player, and I think we can get him.”
“At the time, I didn’t realize what the business of the NBA really meant, or how teams were put together, so it didn’t really dawn on me how much this would mean for the @lakers,” Jesse Buss wrote. “I can tell you now that watching Kobe play for the last 20 years has been nothing but jaw-dropping and inspiring to me, and to so many basketball fans around the world and especially amongst the Purple and Gold. I’m thankful for everything Kobe brought to our beloved franchise and to the game of basketball… The one thing that saddens me is that I wish my Dad was here for this moment, and that he could give Kobe one last hug on his way off the court. I hope he leaves the game with no regrets, and truly from the bottom of our hearts: THANK YOU KOBE! We all love you. #kb20 #lakers”
Credits: Lakers.com; Jason of Beverly Hills.