The Miami Heat received their 2012 championship rings last night in the customary ceremony before the opening game, with each player sharing a short embrace and word with commissioner David Stern before collecting their hardware. Ever wonder what Stern says to each player? We did, so we asked some former NBA champions — and two-time champion Brent Barry’s ring ceremony experience is unparalleled. Not to spoil anything, but it involves Tim Duncan and David Stern’s flaky old-man skin. Here’s what Barry told BuzzFeed about the first night of the 2005-06 season:
At the start of the 2006 season David Stern made his third trip to south Texas to award the 2005 championship rings to our team that defeated the Pistons in seven games the previous June.
I remember getting a flood of memories standing with my teammates as the lights went out and we prepared to get our rings. The emotions, the excitement, the adrenaline, the nervousness of all of last year’s playoff run to the title were all rolled up into the feelings I had during that moment when the lights dimmed. And then it was a different recognition; one of all the hard work we each had put into achieving such a thing. That was the satisfaction.
As I basked in that satisfaction I stood next to Tim Duncan. I said something like “Well that was fun last year, we should try to do this again!” He giggled his goofy giggle. And then I asked him how much he would give me if I kissed David Stern upon getting my ring.
He offered a sum, I considered it and waited for my name to be called. As I approached the Commish I felt like I couldn’t let my captain down. So after a quick ‘Congratulations Brent’ from David I hugged him and planted one right on his cheek. To this day, I swear he and grandma have the same skin.
As I moved slowly from the spotlight as it found the next player, I casually glanced over to Tim and, wiping my tongue with my finger tips as if something flakey remained from my time with Mr. Stern, I mouthed the words: “You owe me a hundred bucks!”
I swear I heard him laugh all the way over to where I stood on the court.
Needless to say, in 2007 when I was a part of a second championship with the Spurs, things were not as spontaneous. I saw David in the locker room prior to the game as he usually makes it standard practice to visit the teams prior to the ceremony as he did in 2005. He stole a moment with me and told me there’ll be no more kisses tonight. During the ceremony, this time David and I exchanged a look I will always remember.
Best $100 bucks I ever made…
Thank you, Brent Barry, for sharing your story. You are a legend in these parts.