Raptors receive 'largest' ever NBA title rings, unveil championship banner

TORONTO -- It was a gray and gloomy morning in Toronto on Tuesday, with rain showering the city off and on throughout the day. But as the afternoon hit, the sun started to shine -- almost as brightly as the Raptors' new championship rings.

Prior to tipoff of Toronto's 130-122 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, the Raptors presented their players and coaches with championship rings and unveiled the 2019 NBA champions banner in the rafters of Scotiabank Arena.

Here are some of the features of what the team called the "largest NBA championship ring" ever produced:

  • A 1.25-carat diamond atop the Larry O'Brien Trophy, the largest single diamond in any professional sports ring

  • The front of the ring depicts the Toronto skyline and Scotiabank Arena, along with the team's chevron logo

  • The 74 diamonds in and around the Toronto skyline represent the team's 74 wins in the regular season and playoffs

  • Above the arena on the front of the ring are six round diamonds representing "The Six," which rapper and Raptors global ambassador Drake popularized as another reference for the city of Toronto

  • 16 rubies and the 16 jersey numbers of the players on the championship roster encircle the ring

  • Inside the ring, the championship logo is engraved above the Raptors' postseason series records and a ruby is set inside a maple leaf representing Canada

  • One side of the ring features the player's name and number

  • The opposite side features "World Champions 2019" above the Raptors' logo

In total, the ring boasts 14 carats' worth of diamonds and more than 650 total diamonds; both are the most ever in any professional championship ring.

During his postgame news conference, Raptors coach Nick Nurse joked that the rings were even bigger than he imagined.

"You see 'em," Nurse exclaimed following his team's win.

Peter Kanis, president of Baron Championship Rings, said his company started preparing concepts for rings before the Finals ended but got a boost in the process after talking with Raptors guard Kyle Lowry.

"He became a very important person in the transition to the masterpiece we have today," Kanis told reporters at halftime of Tuesday's game.

Drake and superfan Nav Bhatia also received rings, the team confirmed. Drake also commissioned Jason of Beverly Hills to make him a separate ring, which has over 30 carats of diamonds.

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The banner -- which hangs near the spot where Kawhi Leonard's bouncing shot sent the Raptors to the Eastern Conference finals -- is next to just two other banners: a 2019 Eastern Conference championship banner and a single banner commemorating all six of Toronto's Atlantic Division titles, replacing the individual banners the team used to have for each title.

When it was time to unveil the banner, Lowry took the mic and called his teammates over to stand behind him, then led the crowd in a countdown. As the drape covering the banner fell, Queen's "We Are The Champions" blared throughout the arena as fireworks and pyrotechnics went off.

"The work that this organization, the players that paved the way, the players that been here before, the players that helped us build this organization and program up, it just meant the world for me to be able to address the crowd and speak for everyone that's put the work in, the time, the blood and the work, the equity into the organization," Lowry said.

His teammates were impressed with the final product.

"It's crazy," guard Fred VanVleet said after dropping a career-high 34 points. "They did a good job. It's the best one I've seen as far as championship rings. Have to figure out how to wear it. It's a little uncomfortable on my hands."

The black banner features a gold Larry O'Brien Trophy, with "Toronto Raptors" and "2019 World Champions" in white above and below the trophy. It is trimmed in red, and the names of the players are featured on the sides.

Each of the fans inside the arena received a replica of the championship ring.