Professional athletes often accept less money to be on successful teams, where playoff money is likely and there is a good chance of winning a championship. A championship team usually awards its players rings (such as a World Series ring or a Super Bowl ring); a player often says that he “wants a ring,” meaning that he wants to win a championship.
“It’s All About the Benjamins” ("Benjamin" is slang for a $100 bill that has Benjamin Franklin’s image on the front) was a song on Puffy Daddy’s album No Way Out (1997). “It’s all about the ring(s)” has been cited in print since at least 1998.
Wikipedia: Championship ring
A championship ring is a ring presented to members of winning teams in professional sports leagues, and—in North America—college tournaments. In recent years, it has become common for American, and Canadian high schools to give championship rings to teams that win the state or provincial championship in their given sport, usually football. In professional sports leagues—such as the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB)—the runner-ups of the league championship game/series is awarded a ring, being the champion of their conference (sub-league).
11 June 1998, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Hicks brings higher expectation level” by Kevin Lonnquist:
Rangers second baseman Mark McLemore distributed a T-shirt to his teammates this spring that reads, “It’s all about the ring.”
The World Series ring, that is.
23 April 2000, Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution, “Barkley’s career valid minus ring,” pg. D9:
It’s all about the rings. Just win (it all), baby. Such thinking is hugely troubling. It reinforces a notion that is contrary to the nature of sports.
24 July 2003, Dayton (OH) Daily News, “It’s all about the ring” by Dave Long, pg. Z3-10:
LEBANON - Now Ty Merchant understands what professional athletes mean when they say “It’s all about the ring,” in those ESPN interviews.
“There isn’t a day that has gone by this summer in the bank when someone hasn’t noticed my ring and asked me about it,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. People I don’t even know congratulating me.
by SnakeDoctor on Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:16 pm
it’s all about the ring, and we got 3 of them after making these deals, so i find it hard to argue against them.
The Sociology of Sports:
By Tim Delaney and Tim Madigan
Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc.
Trophies and championship rings become the ultimate symbols of achievement in sport. There is a cliché in certain sports that athletes play for “the ring.” “It’s all about the ring.” Of course, it’s not really the ring itself the player wants.
The Day I (Almost) Killed Two Gretzkys:
And Other Hits, Near Misses, and Off-the-Wall Stories About Sports...and Life
By James Duthie
Mississauga, ON: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.
In the pros, it’s all about The Ring. In tyke, it’s all about The Snack.
My boy could score a natural hat trick in the final minute to win the league championship, but if there’s no Kool-Aid Jammer waiting in the dressing room, he will curl up in the fetal position and weep.
Dallas (TX) Morning News
Super Bowl rings: Some players forced to sell them; others don’t care
By TOM BENNING / Staff Writer
Published: 03 February 2011 11:23 PM
Even Fox’s Super Bowl promotions this year come with the tagline, “It’s all about the ring.”
Who’s at the Center of it All?
Updated: July 10, 2012, 1:30 PM ET
It’s all about the rings, baby
New York City • Sports/Games • (0) Comments • Friday, August 17, 2012 • Permalink