Malibu Sharks boys’ basketball coach Richard Harris isn’t one to rock a lot of jewelry. However, last week, the high school hoops coach gained some gaudy bling of the championship variety.
Harris, also an employee of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, received an NBA championship ring on Feb. 11 in recognition of the Lakers winning the 2020 NBA title last October. Harris, a community relations assistant in the pro basketball team’s community relations department, was one of several of the organization’s employees that was given a championship ring.
The Sharks coach said commemorative jewelry is one of the coolest things he has ever gotten.
“I don’t know if it’s a lifelong dream being accomplished—because I didn’t coach to get it, I didn’t play to get it, but I was part of a championship organization that was able to accomplish something pretty cool,” Harris said. “No one can ever take that away from me. I’m super excited.”
Harris, a fan of Lakers legend Magic Johnson, is enamored with the adornment.
“The first day I got it I think I looked at it an hour straight with a big smile on my face,” he said. “Its like having a Grammy at home.”
The Lakers, led by superstar Lebron James, defeated the Miami Heat, four games to two, in a best-of-seven series to win the franchise’s 17th NBA crown. James and the other Lakers players and coaches received their championship rings during a special ceremony held the opening night of the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22.
Harris and other Lakers staff got their rings at a COVID-safe organized drive-thru at Lakers headquarters.
The championship rings were designed by jeweler Jason Arasheben, who owns Jason of Beverly Hills. However, the rings the players were gifted are a bit more luxurious than the accessories Harris and other staff received.
“The ones the players got are ridiculous,” Harris said. “It’s the ring I got on steroids.”
Still, Harris’ ring is impressive and has a similar look to the finger ornaments the reigning NBA champs obtained.
The Malibu coach’s ring features .24 carats in the purple amethyst stones that make up the “L” logo on the ring’s face. The logo is framed by block letters spelling “World Champions.” Images around the rim of the face include 17 tiny NBA trophies and jersey numbers for every player on the Lakers’ 2019-20 roster. The right side of the ring, or shank, features the phrase “Leave A Legacy,” referring to the squad’s playoff slogan in honor of Laker great Kobe Bryant, who died in a January 2020 helicopter crash. The rings are also personalized, so above the phrase honoring Bryant on Harris’ ring is “R. Harris” in block letters.
The left shank lists the Lakers’ playoff opponents and results of each series, the team’s regular season record, and another depiction of the NBA championship trophy. Both sides have an outline in the shape of a basketball net with a mesh background. And of course, there are the diamonds—the ring is adorned with plenty of those.
The championship trinket came in a display case that features a spinning platform and lights to showcase the item. The case is also personalized with a gold nameplate.
In the days since Harris received his ring, he has posted a picture of it on his Instagram page and shown a few friends. Harris also plans on showing the ring to his Malibu players.
“Its an inspirational-type thing,” he said.
Harris said the ring has a heavy feel and because of its size and sparkle is an automatic conversation starter. But, don’t expect him to pace the Sharks’ sidelines with the ring adorning his finger. The coach plans on placing it in a safety deposit box.
“I don’t take it out of the case much,” Harris said. “I really don’t want to wear it. I’ve never been a big jewelry guy. It’s too flamboyant to wear somewhere. It’s too luxurious for me to wear on a daily basis.”
After a little more than four years coaching the Sharks, Harris stepped away from the position before the team’s tipoff to the 2018-19 campaign to take the Lakers job. He was renamed Malibu’s coach last spring and is looking forward to leading the team whenever coronavirus restrictions are eased by the CIF, the governing body for high school athletics in most of the state.
“I hope the world progresses and it’s safer for people to be indoors and near each other,” Harris said. “We could hopefully have a season then.”
The Lakers are one of the top teams in the NBA again this season, but Harris isn’t entertaining thoughts about the squad winning another NBA championship this year. He knows how hard it is to capture titles in consecutive seasons.
The coach is amazed he was bestowed his newest possession.
“It’s unbelievable, no one expects to get a championship ring if you aren’t coaching or playing,” he said.