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BYGONE BLING
July 11, 2005
Note to athletes and coaches who believe that it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that ring: Cherish your championship, because the jewelry that goes with it can suddenly disappear.
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July 11, 2005

Bygone Bling

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Note to athletes and coaches who believe that it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that ring: Cherish your championship, because the jewelry that goes with it can suddenly disappear.

ROCKY BLEIER'S SUPER BOWL RINGS

For 13 seasons undersized running back Rocky Bleier charmed Steelers fans with his perseverance and clutch play. He still has the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star he earned during his yearlong tour with the Army in Vietnam. But while he was giving a motivational speech in Charlotte last year, someone snuck into an unlocked dressing room and pilfered three of the four Super Bowl rings he won with Pittsburgh between 1975 and '80. ESTIMATED VALUE: $20,000 to $25,000 each.

GENO AURIEMMA'S

HOOPS RINGS

Last November two teenagers stole four championship rings from the unlocked car of UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma. The teens allegedly sold the rings (1995, 2000, '02 and '03) for $160 apiece to Javier Lugo of Hartford, who would not speak to the jewelry's whereabouts in court last February. "It's not something that I'm in a hurry to figure out," says Auriemma, who still has his '04 bauble. "I don't put as much emphasis on those things as others do." ESTIMATED VALUE: $800 each.

ARTIS GILMORE'S ABA TITLE RING

With his massive Afro and 7'2" frame, Artis Gilmore was one of the ABA's leading men, a dominant post presence who held the league's alltime record for blocked shots. He was also the centerpiece of the Kentucky Colonels' 1975 title team--a triumph somewhat muted by the theft of his championship ring. He had it swiped from a hotel room while playing for the Bulls in the late '70s. "It brought up sensational memories," says Gilmore. "It was irreplaceable." ESTIMATED VALUE: $15,000.

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