OAKLAND -- Lakers center JaVale McGee was supposed to receive his 2017-18 NBA Championship ring on Christmas Day, but an illness prevented him from making the first of two trips to the Bay Area this season to face his former team, the Warriors.
He didn't miss the second.
McGee received his championship ring just prior to the start of the game between Golden State and Los Angeles at Oracle Arena on Saturday night. Unless the two teams face off in a playoff series, it represented McGee's final chance this season to make an appearance in front of the crowd he called home for the last two years.
"Winning a championship is the most difficult thing to do in the NBA, and it requires an entire team effort," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said prior to the game. "Everybody's got to be on board, everybody's got to make sacrifices, everybody has to contribute. And JaVale was a big part of the last two championships, so it's only right to honor him, to present him his ring, and to give him his moment in front of our fans, for them to say thank you."
Just prior to tipoff, McGee was presented his ring by none other than his former teammate, Andre Iguodala. When Iguodala opened the box containing the ring wide enough for McGee to see its contents, the 7-footer couldn't help but blush.
JaVale finally gets his championship ring 👏
pic.twitter.com/eN7pAk6fcZ— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 3, 2019
McGee played a critical role on Golden State's most recent title team, even if it wasn't always a frequent one. One of several big men on the roster to form a center-by-committee, McGee was a constant source of energy and activity, and certainly had several big moments throughout his tenure with the team.
"You probably remember, I mean, you look back a year ago, four playoff series," Kerr said. "I think the playoff run epitomized JaVale's time here. Played a key role in the first round guarding LaMarcus Aldridge -- we really needed him. Didn't play much the next two rounds, then he started against Cleveland, played a huge role.
"So to be able to count on JaVale during the last couple years, whether he was playing or not, and the professionalism he showed, and the patience he showed when he wasn't playing -- that's what it takes," Kerr continued. "It takes everybody's commitment, whether they're on the floor or not. And he earned those two rings, and we're excited to present him that second one tonight."
Based on the standing ovation McGee received from the Oracle crowd, safe to say they appreciate his time in Golden State.