How 2016 NBA championship rings have spiced up the lives of Cavaliers employees

Posted at 7:12 AM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 12:15:10-04

They are considered the stars in the shadows: the relatively unknown but important members of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball operation. In December, employees received gifts of extraordinary value from the team's owner, Dan Gilbert.

"We feel like we're players," said Miguel Quinones, who supervises ushers at the Q. "We are players, indirectly, because we are a team. In this arena, everybody is a team."

Quinones is one of 2,000 employees who has an NBA 2016 championship ring, a symbol of success after the Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. 

"It's all for one, 'won' for all," he said.

"It's very emotional," said Millie Quinones, also a part-time employee. She's Miguel's wife and also the owner of a championship ring.

Ring specs

  • Encrusted with more than 400 diamonds
  • Weighs about as much as an iPhone 6
  • Each 6.5 carat ring is set in 10K white gold, 14K yellow gold and engraved with the recipient's name. 

"Me, having the ring, you get people here from all over the world, 'oh my God, let me see your ring,'" said Millie Quinones, who scans tickets at the Q. "They get so excited."

The couple described how their most valuable pieces of jewelry have spiced up their lives in the past six months.

"It means so much to everybody," said Millie.

They said strangers often stop them, intrigued by the intricate detail on their rings, their weight and the star-quality shine.

And work is now that much more meaningful.

"It motivates you to work more and take care of the guests," said Miguel. "Without the guests, we would not have a job."

Miguel Quinones began working at the Q seven years ago. Millie Quinones started three years ago. A championship ring was never a thought back then, but now they're hoping for a second one.

To call it a statement piece is an understatement.

"If I get a second one, I can't put it here [on my ring finger], because I got my wedding ring," said Miguel. "But I can probably put it on my pinky finger here."

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