What Are Championship Rings?
Championship rings are rings presented to the members of the winning teams in North American college tournaments and professionals sports leagues.
These rings are exclusive to the North American sports lexicon. While a single championship trophy is awarded to the winning team by the league, championship rings are given to the team’s players and officials as collectible souvenirs that they can keep and symbolize their victory. In North American professional sports, Winners’ and runners-up medals aren’t awarded as is the case in Olympics sports and European Club Association Football tournaments like UEFA Champions League and the Premier League. It is worth noting that Championship rings are paid for and distributed by a league’s winning team (though some associations partially-subsidize the cost.) This is in contract to medals awarded by the competition’s or league’s governing body.
Furthermore, North American Pro Team sports championships are the culmination of the playoff and regular-season tournaments. In European club football, domestic/continental cups and league championships are separate competitions. For pro teams in North America, the playoff league championship is, without a doubt, an essential part of the season. In fact, most fans and organizations in North America don’t consider conference titles or division titles as notable honors. As such, professional sports teams in North America think themselves to be in the contest for a single celebration each year – the League Championship, which is hinged on a playoff tournament seeded from each team’s performance during the regular season. This is unlike European football clubs that compete for both domestic or international playoff tournament ‘cups’ and regular-season league ‘titles.’
Sportswriters often use the number of championships rings an individual has and not the number of championship trophies to tally the athlete’s success. This is because it’s more appropriate to write that it’s a franchise or team and not the athlete that wins championship trophies (i.e., the number of National Basketball Association Championship rings instead of Larry O’Brien Trophies that were won by Phil Jackson, former NBA coach.) In North American sports dialect, an athlete’s aim of getting a ‘ring’ is tantamount to winning playoff league championships, and is now common lexicon (Shaquille O’Neal, a retired basketball center, was quoted saying “My motto (slogan) is simple: Win a (championship) Ring for the King,” and Patrick Roy, former National Hockey League goaltender, stating “ I cannot hear what Jeremy (Roenick) says because I have got my Stanley Cup rings plugging/blocking my ears”).
The four, most expensive and best-known championship rings in North America are known as the “Big Four,” and belong to the top four North American major sports leagues – the NBA Championship Ring, the NHL’s Stanley Cup Ring, the NFL’s Super Bowl Ring, and MLB’s World Series Ring. In North America, apart from commemorating winning a league’s playoff title, championship rings are also presented to athletes who play in All-Star Games and are also awarded to athletes that have been inducted into their respective leagues’ Sports Hall of Fame.