Before I get off the subject of sports personalities (and before I forget), I thought I would do one more post - this time about championship rings.
I posted yesterday about Jerry West and the fact that he had twice been a speaker at a CPA golf event that I helped plan. He allowed me to try on his NBA championship ring, which was exciting. Even with his illustrious career, this was the era of the Boston Celtics, and his one and only championship ring was from 1972. I couldn't find a photo from that year, but here are a couple of other Laker championship rings:
Next on the championship ring quest was Tommy Lasorda. This is actually an interesting story. Again, I had arranged for him to speak at a CPA golf dinner in the desert. I waited in the golf clubhouse lobby for him to arrive. There were 200 people already seated for dinner. Tommy got there with his "entourage", and I handed him a check for the agreed-upon honorarium. He turned to me and said, "This is supposed to be cash, not a check!" and threatened to walk out unless I made that happen. I was shocked, of course, but I promised to rectify the situation, and he stayed. Somehow I was able to get the cash and deliver it to him at his home a couple of days later.
Anyway, he let me try on his World Series ring. I don't know if it was 1981 or 1988, but here is a photo of both.
My third championship ring story was about George Blanda, who spoke to the same group the year after Tommy Lasorda. I sat next to him at dinner (he had played golf with the group that day, and this was the first I had seen him) and handed him his check. Without blinking an eye, he said "I am supposed to get cash!" I almost fainted! Someone on the golf course had tipped him off about Tommy Lasorda and told him to tease me! He was a really nice guy, though, and let me try on his Super Bowl ring. Here is a photo:
I didn't even think about it at the time, but maybe Olympians get rings too, so I could have tried on a fourth ring. Rafer Johnson spoke at the same event a year or two after George Blanda. He also was a nice guy and very fun to talk to.