MIAMI – Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes, whose storied friendship transcended their on-court Hall of Fame accomplishments, will be permanently honored with an annual NBA award in their names that recognizes the ideal teammate, the league announced today.
“What better way to honor the life-long bond that developed between Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes than by naming this award after them,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “The Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award recognizes friendship and selflessness among teammates and celebrates the legacy of Jack and Maurice.”
NBA players have selected Chauncey Billups of the Los Angeles Clippers as the recipient of the inaugural Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. As part of its support for the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the NBA will make a $25,000 donation to the charity of Billups’ choice. A panel of NBA Legends nominated six players from each conference for the award, which recognizes the NBA player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and his commitment and dedication to his team.
“Chauncey Billups defines what this award was designed to recognize, a player committed to his club, his teammates and his community,” Stern said. “He has mentored and guided countless young players to adopt his selfless attitude, dedication, passion for our game and to respect the history and example of players like Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes.”
Twyman and Stokes were friends and teammates on the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals from 1955 to 1958. In the last game of the 1957-58 regular season, Stokes suffered an on-court injury that led to him falling into a coma days later, leaving him permanently paralyzed. Diagnosed with posttraumatic encephalopathy, a brain injury that damaged his motor-control center, Stokes was supported for the rest of his life by Twyman, who became his legal guardian and advocate.
Twyman helped organize the NBA’s Maurice Stokes Memorial Basketball game, held at Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club in Monticello, N.Y., which raised funds for Stokes’s medical care and, following his death in 1970 at age 36, for other players in need. In 2004, after years of lobbying by Twyman, Stokes was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Twyman, who was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1983, died in 2012.
The trophy that will be presented annually to the Twyman-Stokes Award winner was produced by Marc Mellon, the same artist who sculpts the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, which is given annually to the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
In this year’s award voting, Billups totaled 1,543 total points, including 64 first-place votes. Miami Heat forward Shane Battier finished second with 1,324 points (79 first-place votes), and New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd placed third with 1,048 points (42 first-place votes).
Ten points were awarded for a first-place vote, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth and one for fifth; players were not allowed to vote for a player on their own team. Along with the Billups, the finalists included Jerry Stackhouse (Brooklyn Nets), Luke Walton (Cleveland Cavaliers), Andre Iguodala (Denver Nuggets), Jarrett Jack (Golden State Warriors), Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers), Battier, Roger Mason, Jr. (New Orleans Hornets), Kidd, Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder), Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), and Emeka Okafor (Washington Wizards).
Following is a list of this year’s voting totals for the 2012-13 Twyman/Stokes Teammate of the Year Award.
2012-13 TWYMAN-STOKES TEAMMATE OF THE YEAR AWARD VOTING TOTALS
Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
Chauncey Billups, LA Clippers 64 80 37 44 26 1,543
Shane Battier, Miami 79 41 26 32 21 1.324
Jason Kidd, New York 42 38 43 31 54 1,048
Jarrett Jack, Golden State 26 45 44 25 25 895
Jerry Stackhouse, Brooklyn 30 34 47 22 26 865
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio 35 14 23 43 30 722
Andre Iguodala, Denver 13 22 31 27 46 566
Luke Walton, Cleveland 18 26 23 19 21 555
Roger Mason Jr., New Orleans 13 12 27 30 19 458
Roy Hibbert, Indiana 6 12 26 19 21 352
Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City 11 11 13 23 21 342
Emeka Okafor, Washington 10 12 7 28 34 333
ABOUT JACK TWYMAN: A Pittsburgh native, Twyman’s NBA career included six All-Star Game selections and two All-NBA Second Team nods. A prolific scorer, Twyman was runner-up in the scoring race twice including 1959-60 when he averaged a career-high 31.2 points, and he retired in 1966 as the 20th all-time leading scorer. Following his on-court career, he worked as an NBA analyst for ABC. Twyman starred at the University of Cincinnati, where he averaged 17.8 points and 13.8 rebounds.
ABOUT MAURICE STOKES: Also a Pittsburgh native, Stokes was one of the first African-American players to star at the collegiate and professional levels. At 6-7, 250 pounds, he possessed the talent and athleticism to play every position on the court. He led St. Francis College (Pennsylvania) to the Final Four of the 1955 National Invitation Tournament before embarking on his NBA career. The second overall selection of the 1955 NBA Draft by the Rochester Kings, Stokes won the 1955-56 Rookie of the Year Award and earned All-Star berths in each of his three NBA campaigns before suffering his career-ending injury.
ABOUT CHAUNCEY BILLUPS: A five-time NBA All-Star selection, Billups led the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 title, garnering Finals Most Valuable Player honors. The 16-year NBA veteran owns career averages of 15.4 points and 5.5 assists. A standout at the University of Colorado, Billups was the third overall selection of the Boston Celtics in the 1997 Draft. A key member of USA Basketball, Billups helped the USA Senior National Team win gold medals at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and at the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Among his community outreach efforts, the Denver native created the Chauncey Billups Elite Basketball Academy in 2010 to identify and develop young talent in Colorado.
ABOUT KUTSHER’S HOTEL AND COUNTRY CLUB: Kutsher’s is the longest running hotel in the Catskills Mountains region of New York State. An avid sports fan, owner Milton Kutsher sponsored the Maurice Stokes Benefit All-Star Game, which attracted top NBA talent. In the 1990s, the basketball exhibition spawned the Maurice Stokes/Wilt Chamberlain Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament. Red Auerbach was a regular, and Chamberlain worked at the resort as a bellhop. Additionally, boxing greats including Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson and Leon Spinks trained there. Widely recognized for its golf course, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and tennis facilities, Milton Kutsher launched a Sports Academy at the resort in 1968. In 2008, it was renamed The New Kutsher’s Resort & Spa.