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Mavs Get Championship Rings

Former Mavs Barea, Stojakovic also take part in ceremony

By Ellen Goldberg and Stephen Hawkins
|  Wednesday, Jan 25, 2012  |  Updated 11:31 PM CDT
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Dirk Through the Years

The Dallas Mavericks ring for winning the 2011 NBA Finals.

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The Dallas Mavericks finally have championship rings for their first NBA title.

Coach Rick Carlisle and owner Mark Cuban individually presented 11 players with their diamond-encrusted ring.

NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki kissed his ring and held it high in the air for the crowd to see before placing it on his finger.

"How does it look?" he asked, to a roar of applause and cheers.

Exactly a month after raising the championship banner before the season opener Christmas Day, players got their rings in a pregame ceremony Wednesday night before playing the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Carlisle and Cuban presented rings to Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, seven other current players who were on last year's team, retired player Peja Stojakovic and J.J. Barea, who now plays for the Timberwolves.

The ceremony began with a video of the Mavericks being presented the NBA championship trophy at the end of the finals and other playoff highlights. It was the same montage shown on Christmas Day, with a couple of additions -- video of the banner raising and the team's trip to the White House earlier this month.

"It means a lot to get to see Dirk and Kidd get their rings," said Preston Newman, a Sachse resident who has had season tickets for the past eight years.

The rings weren't ready for the season opener because Cuban waited until after the NBA lockout so he could confer with players about the design.

Carlisle introduced each player, the last being Nowitzki, who was dressed in a suit during the third of at least four games he's sitting out to improve game conditioning and his sore right knee. The coach introduced the 10-time All-Star and former NBA MVP as a player "who one day soon will have a statute in front of the AAC (the team's arena) without question. The greatest player in Mavericks history."

Nowitzki thanked everybody for taking part in a "special, special" night, then pointed out that there was one more ring left.

"Without this man, nothing was possible," Nowitzki said. "He's the greatest owner in sports. Here's Mark Cuban. Thank you very much."

Cuban held up his ring and turned in a full circle to acknowledge the cheering crowd.

The crowd went crazy as Kidd kissed his ring, and Jason Terry ignited fans with his signature jet takeoff.

Barea, who missed his fourth consecutive game for Minnesota because of a sprained left ankle, received a huge ovation when he was the first player introduced by Carlisle.

"I think it's going to be a symbol that stays with me the rest of my life," Barea said. "It's hard to get one, so I'm happy I have it, and just I'm going to enjoy it."

The four players from last season's team not present to get rings were Corey Brewer, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stephenson. Carlisle said he looked forward to presenting rings to those players later this season.

Cuban bought rings for all the players, coaches and support staff for about $1.4 million. Each of the more expensive players and coaches rings are estimated to be worth about $40,000.

The rings were manufactured by Jostens, whose master jewelers worked closely with Kidd, Nowitzki and Terry on the design for the 14-carat white gold ring. It has 31 custom-cut princess diamonds, 10 total carats and a total of 250 diamonds.

"It's beautiful, I'm telling you," Nowitzki said during the game. "It's blingy. It's got the Mavs logo on the top. It's got, on the side, it's got the trophy and 'the time is now 2011.' It's got the name and the 41 on the other side. It's beautiful."

Jostens also created a more-affordable version for Mavericks fans.

"It's all inspired by the players' rings," said Veronica Sanderson, of Jostens. "They are the champs, so they get the one-of-a-kind ones, but the fans get similar products that are just as nice."

And they are about 1/100th of the price.

"It's about as close as I'm gonna get," said Newman, one of the first fans to place an order for a replica ring.

The jeweler is also creating a collection of other jewelry and collectibles for fans to celebrate and remember the championship.

But if you long for a little more bling than fan jewelry can provide, Terry may have something just for you. Terry is purchasing an extra ring and will raffle it off on his website, www.JasonTerryFoundation.org. Proceeds from the $10 raffle tickets will go to his daughter's youth basketball team's trip to China.

NBC 5's Frank Heinz and Newy Scruggs contributed to this report.

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