What is it that NBA players want most? What is it that makes them push themselves for 82 games in the regular season and 16 wins in the playoffs? What is it that makes them work out like Navy SEALs in the offseason? Why do veterans hang on for that extra year or two? Because it's about the ring. The big, gaudy, golden, diamond-encrusted, inscribed ring heavy enough to use a doorstop and beautiful enough to mesmerize most anyone. It's the ultimate symbol of accomplishment and excellence. Wear it with pride, you're a champion. The ring is definitely the thing.

The Ring's the Thing index | NBA Finals 2003

Julius "The Doctor" Erving: New York Nets, ABA Champion 1974, 1976; Philadelphia 76ers, NBA Champion 1983

Dr. J and his 1983 NBA championship ring.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

What do your rings symbolize to you?
"I think the '74 championship ring symbolizes to me the feeling of what it's all about, that you can secure the gold ring. It's almost like finding the Holy Grail. Everybody is searching for that. It validates you as an individual, it validates your team, it validates your organization.

"So that first time in '74, that was the feeling I got."

"Seventy-six was different, even though on the ring it says "The Gold Again." It was sort of a repeat of what happened earlier. It felt really good because we were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round the previous year."

"The 1983 championship ring, that was true validation in terms of the NBA career. Having been runner up three times, it was very frustrating. We could have gone away and disappeared and then just be one of those teams listed in the right column [winners are listed first on the left], knowing that you never got it done. So, getting it done was hugely significant and probably more significant than the others."

Is that the 1983 ring?
"Yes, this is the 1983 ring."

What is the inscription inside 1983 ring?
"The ring says 'Fo', fi', fo'.'"

An explanation regarding Dr. J's 1983 ring
Before the Sixers' magical playoff run in 1983, a reporter asked Sixers center Moses Malone how the team would do. He predicted a playoffs sweep with this now famous response: "Fo', fo', fo'!"

Instead of 12-0, the Sixers went 12-1, losing one game to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Julius Erving is one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame