It’s hard to imagine a Raptors basketball game in Toronto without seeing Nav Bhatia sitting courtside.
The man everyone calls “Superfan” hasn’t missed a home game since the franchise entered the NBA with their purple uniforms in 1995.
Bhatia definitely earned that nickname, so it only made sense that when the Raptors received their customized NBA championship rings, the Superfan got one, too.
“Words do not express what this means to me,” Bhatia said Tuesday on Twitter, accepting the ring “on behalf” of every Raptors fan around the world.
“Thank you to the greatest organization in sports for how much they care about their fans.”
The ring is a stunner. It contains 74 diamonds on the face of it, which represent the team’s wins last season on their road to the NBA title. In total, more than 640 diamonds appear on the ring. There’s also a massive 1.25-carat diamond featured in the Larry O’Brien Trophy and 16 rubies for the 16 jersey numbers that helped bring the championship to Toronto.
The city’s skyline and the team’s chevron “North” logo are front and centre. The ring was made by Baron Championship Rings in Windsor, Ont., and features gold and diamonds sourced from Canada.
“This isn’t just a ring for the Raptors. It’s a ring for the city of Toronto and the country of Canada,” said Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who had a hand in designing it. “I think it’s one of the best rings in the history of the NBA.”
The NBA says the customized jewelry set multiple records for championship rings in professional sports, including the most diamonds, the most diamond total carat weight and the largest single diamond ever set.
Bhatia posted several photos on social media of himself smiling with the ring, which was unveiled before the Raptors’ season debut Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Raptors fans were delighted at Bhatia’s new accessory.
The Superfan made international headlines when he was the target of a racist tweet from a Milwaukee Bucks fan during the 2019 Eastern Conference final featuring the Raptors.
Instead of reacting negatively, Bhatia took the high road and thanked all of the Bucks fans who apologized for the offensive tweet. The original tweet and account were eventually deleted, and the Superfan earned praise for how he handled the situation.
“I felt really sorry, and I felt like he [the original Twitter user] hadn’t seen the world at all,” Bhatia told HuffPost Canada at the time. “We are Canadians. We know when somebody goes low, we go high.”
CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article said the ring contains 74 diamonds. In fact, there are 74 diamonds on the face of the ring, and more than 640 diamonds in total.