Nikola Jokic isn’t alone: The most notable in-game jewelry moments in sports

Nikola Jokic is not only a unique archetype of NBA superstar, but also an absolutely unique individual. How many other NBA Finals MVPs groan when they find out they have to be the star of their city’s first-ever NBA championship parade instead of going back home to be with their horses?

Not only that, but family is also clearly a major part of Jokic’s life, from his brothers cheering him on from their courtside seats to his daughter waving from the stands. Jokic also carries a memento of his family with him during every game, even when they are not present, by tying his wedding ring to his shoes.

Jokic is, however, hardly the only athlete to draw attention by way of his on-field jewelry. Here are some more high-profile moments where jewelry played a role in professional sports.

An on-air apology

Case Cookus, the starting quarterback for the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars, also wears his wedding ring while competing. Unlike Jokic, however, Cookus swaps his usual ring out for a rubber wedding band that he wears on his finger during games — that is, until he lost it during a recent game against the Pittsburgh Maulers.

Cookus frantically turned to one of FOX Sports’ on-field cameras with a message to his wife, Tayler, watching back home.

“Tell my wife I lost my wedding ring, but I’ve got an extra one!” Case Cookus said. “I swear I just lost it, I don’t know where it went. … I swear I had it!”

Case’s plea apparently worked, as Tayler later tweeted that she had already ordered a replacement set of athletic wedding bands to be shipped to her husband. 

New team, new drip

Odell Beckham Jr. was bound to make a statement after he joined the Cleveland Browns following a blockbuster trade from the New York Giants.

But few expected that statement to come on his wrist.

Beckham wore watches worth hundreds of thousands of dollars during the first several games of the 2019 season, eventually landing an endorsement with watch company Daniel Wellington — after wearing a watch during warmups before an early-season game that closely resembled a limited-edition model worth $2.2 million before internet sleuths determined it was a fake.

Still, Beckham’s six-figure fashion statement had the internet abuzz as he began his Browns tenure.

Got your chain!

Michael Crabtree had some memorable feuds with opposing cornerbacks during his NFL career, most notably causing Richard Sherman’s memorable outburst during an interview with FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews after the 2013 NFC Championship Game. 

But things got a lot more physical during a 2017 Raiders-Broncos game when Denver cornerback Aqib Talib snatched the chain Crabtree was wearing right off the receiver’s neck, starting a fight that engulfed several members of both teams.

Years later, Talib revealed that the idea to snatch Crabtree’s chain due to some preexisting beef between the two came after a Broncos assistant coach suggested he do so during a pregame hype speech. Talib and Crabtree later squashed that beef at a Dallas go-kart track.

Lots of NFL players wear chains, but rarely do opponents use that to provoke them. Talib showed everyone what happens when they do.

Pederson’s pearls

Joc Pederson has a track record of being a postseason star, but in 2021, he added some flair to his October heroics. Pederson’s stint with the Braves is not only memorable for how the outfielder helped Atlanta to its first World Series title since 1995, but also for the pearl necklace that quickly became his trademark throughout the unlikely playoff run.

Pederson insisted there was no deeper meaning behind the pearls, but they quickly caught on. Fans sported faux pearl necklaces during the World Series that year and even some of Pederson’s former teammates wore them when presenting him with his World Series ring after Pederson signed with the San Francisco Giants before the 2022 season.

Venus makes a stand

Tennis legend Venus Williams featured beads in her hair for much of her early professional career. This became a source of controversy when, in the 1999 Australian Open, her opponent Lindsay Davenport was awarded a point after some of Williams’ beads fell out during a swing.

Williams criticized the penalty after the match, which Davenport won. Davenport also called the beads “annoying.” Years later, however, Williams said the only thing she changed after the match was to tie her beads tighter and move on. She continued wearing them for years afterward, and the beads became an iconic part of her early-career look.

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Case Cookus

Case Cookus

Philadelphia Stars

Philadelphia Stars

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