Kobe Bryant helped deliver the Los Angeles Lakers five championship rings during his illustrious 20-year career in purple and gold. On Wednesday night, before his final game as an NBA player ahead of his retirement at the end of this season, the Lakers did what they could to return the favor, presenting both Kobe and his wife, Vanessa Bryant, with new diamond-studded pieces of jewelry for the road, courtesy of jeweler Jason of Beverly Hills:
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Before making the decision to retire, you'd imagine that Kobe would consider the prospect of ending a 16- or 17-win season with bedazzled hardware to be baffling at best and perhaps even insulting. But given how comfortably he's shifted into acceptance of and appreciation for the farewell tour, the goodbye gifts, and everything else that has come with it, even as the losses have piled up, I suspect he took the gesture for what it was: another token of appreciation for all he's meant to the organization over the last two decades, much like the one Bean and his teammates got Shaquille O'Neal after he hung 'em up as a thank you for all he did in delivering the first three titles of Kobe's career.
And according to Nina Mandell of For the Win, it really is one hell of a thank you:
The ring, according to a spokesperson for the jeweler, is made up of round white diamonds with a total carat weight of 4.87 carats set onto approximately 70 grams of 14 karat yellow and white gold.
There’s five large diamonds for each of the championships Bryant won. The sides have his two jersey numbers and his nickname and there’s even a “strip of snake skin as a testament to his Black Mamba nickname,” according to the press release.
Sure, it's an awfully pricey, flashy and gaudy bauble of a token. But then, this is L.A., these are the Lakers, and this is Kobe. Anything less just wouldn't seem right, would it?