Kobe Bryant’s First Championship Ring Sells For Nearly $1 Million, Setting New Record

A Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers championship ring that was gifted to his father sold for nearly $1 million over the weekend. The ring fetched $927,200 at Goldin Auctions over the weekend, making it the most expensive NBA championship ring of all-time. The previous record was held by Bill Russell’s 1957 championship ring — the first title he won with the Boston Celtics — which scored $705,000 in December 2021.

Bryant’s ring was surrounded by controversy as it was initially believed his father, Joe Bryant, was selling it, after the description lot on Goldin’s website read, “Obtained directly from the Bryant family, this ring is a true one-of-a-kind, and we can confirm that it is the only championship ring ever given by Kobe to his father.” However, Joe and Pamela Bryant previously sold the ring through Goldin in 2013 for approximately $173,000. The ring’s new owner decided to put up the rare item for auction.

“We want to make it unequivocally clear that we have no involvement in this sale of our son’s 2000 championship ring,” Joe and Pamela Bryant told the Los Angeles Times in a statement. “The mere existence of the auction has reopened a deep, painful wound. We seek peace, and the opportunity to grieve with dignity. We appreciate your understanding and respect for our family’s privacy at this time. Thank you, and may God bless you.”

Kobe Bryant ordered an extra copy of the 2000 Los Angeles Lakers championship ring for his dad. Joe “Jellybean” Bryant played eight seasons in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets.

It was the first of five championships Kobe won with the Lakers.

“This exquisite ring features a total of 40 diamonds, including five larger round diamonds on either side of the face, which display ‘LAKERS’ filled with purple enamel. ‘WORLD CHAMPIONS’ reads in relief lettering,” the description lot on Goldin Auctions reads. “The NBA league logo centers on one side, with the name ‘BRYANT’ at the top and the number ‘8’ at the bottom. Also appearing are banners that reveal both the Laker’s regular season mark of 67-15 as well as their postseason win-loss record of 15-8. An image of a basketball hoop — with a diamond as a basketball — appears on the opposite side along with ‘BLING BLING’ and ‘2000.’ The inside of this ring is marked 14K.”

This isn’t the first time memorabilia a championship ring gifted to Bryant’s parents has been sold at auction. According to the Los Angeles Times, Pamela Bryant sold a replica championship ring gifted to her for $206,000 in 2019. Separately, in 2013, on top of the gifted championship ring, Bryant’s parents attempted to sell a signed basketball from the 2000 Lakers team, Kobe’s 1996 Lower Merion High School championship ring, high school sweat suits, and a surfboard he used as a child, before the NBA superstar filed a lawsuit against them.

“When u Give GIVE and they take Take TAKE at wat point do u draw a line in the sand?” Kobe tweeted at the time.

A settlement ended up being reached, allowing Bryant’s parents to auction six items for a total of $500,000. They also issued a public apology.

“We regret our actions and statements related to the Kobe Bryant auction memorabilia,” the statement read at the time, according to the LA Times. “We apologize for any misunderstanding and unintended pain we may have caused our son and appreciate the financial support that he has provided to us over the years.”

Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, had a frosty relationship with his parents. Joe and Pamela Bryant didn’t go to their son’s wedding and they also didn’t attend his final NBA game in 2016 where he put up 60 points. After Bryant donned his Lakers uniform for the last time, he told ESPN he hadn’t spoken to his parents in three years.

“Our relationship is s***. I say, ‘I’m going to buy you a very nice home,’ and the response is, ‘That’s not good enough?’ Then you’re selling my s—?”

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others tragically died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, in January 2020.

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