Clippers’ Chauncey Billups receives inaugural Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award

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.


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.