SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Golden State Warriors wrapped up their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks, stamping their ticket back to the NBA Finals, a man by the name of Jason Arasheben started receiving text messages from a few Warriors players.
The texts were simple -- and presumptuous. "Make sure you go crazy with the ring," one read. "Make sure it's over the top," read another, according to Arasheben, who runs Los Angeles-based jewelry house Jason of Beverly Hills.
When the Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in six games -- Golden State's fourth title in the past eight years -- Arasheben began designing a ring that was just that: huge.
The Warriors' 2022 championship rings, which were presented to the team, coaches and front-office members ahead of the Warriors' regular-season opener Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers, are 16 carats -- a nod to the 16 wins the team had won in the playoffs. There are .91 carats of white diamonds on the inner bezel to honor the team's 91% home winning percentage in the postseason.
But, like most any other championship ring, there is far more symbolism present than just the number of carats. Designed in a collaborative effort between players, team leadership and Jason of Beverly Hills, the ring tells the story of the Warriors' championship season.
"The journey matters," says Warriors assistant general manager Kirk Lacob, who spearheaded the design process. "That is the story you are trying to tell with any ring. The ring itself is cool, it's flashy. But what it really is, is the physical manifestation of the journey. It's supposed to remind you of everything you went through."
Golden State's journey to its title last year felt reminiscent of its title run in 2015 because of its improbability. Even after they made the Finals, ESPN's Basketball Power Index gave them just a 14% chance to win the title. The Warriors wanted to give a nod to that championship that kicked off their dynasty seven years prior.
Arasheben and his staff presented Lacob with dozens of innovative designs at their first meeting in Lacob's office at Chase Center. But Lacob didn't like them. He says he wanted the same round shape their 2015 rings had.
And similar to how their 2015 ring resembled Oracle Arena -- with the old building's recognizable X's on its windows around the outside of the ring -- this year's has imagery of Chase Center's exterior in the same spot. Down one of the sides, there is also a view of the interior of Chase Center.
Arasheben and Lacob held just three formal meetings, but they would send each other numerous updates via text and email during the monthslong design process. Lacob estimates he saw around 20 versions of various parts of the ring before settling on the final design. They started with the face of the ring, and then worked on the shanks afterwards.
"It's similar, but it's a new age," Lacob says. "It's bigger, better and more badass."
The ring is made up of seven carats of yellow diamonds -- a rare gem that the jewelers of Jason of Beverly Hills scoured for months to find. Trade embargos as a result of the war in Ukraine only made it more challenging, Arasheben says, and they sourced from Belgium, Israel, India and Canada to find enough. By the time he acquired the diamonds, Arasheben and his team had just five weeks to make the 65 rings, each one needing 40 to 50 hours and seven different specialists to create.
The yellow color is not only an acknowledgment of one of their team colors, but also the "Gold Blooded" slogan the franchise introduced before the first round.
On the face of the ring, a carve-out of the Bay Bridge is made up of 43 white diamond baguettes -- representing Stephen Curry's 43-point performance in Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals.
The face also features each player's jersey number on top of what Lacob calls a "secret trapdoor" that, when slid open, reveals the number of Larry O'Brien Trophies each player has won. The individualized custom feature, Lacob says, came from a desire to honor the four core players -- Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala who built Golden State's dynasty.
"The team won this championship together, but we have four players who are very special," Lacob says.
One side of each ring features the player's last name, and then the records of each of the team's playoff series victories. On the other is the organization's seven Larry O'Brien Trophies displayed.
"I really do feel like we won the title last year not in spite of the previous two years, but because of the previous two years," Kerr said. "I think of all the work that (the guys) put in during those down years to get better, to be ready for what they faced last year ... It was a long haul, but all part of the journey that led to this title, which makes it really special."
Behind those seven trophies lies the ring's most subtle symbol -- and Lacob's favorite. It's one the players were unaware of during the design process.
Engraved behind the trophies on the ring's shanks is Boston's legendary parquet floor -- the exact location where Golden State won these rings.