Photo of the NBA Twyman Stokes Award. The award depicts Jack Twyman helping teammate Maurice Stokes.
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. View video on the NBA website of the announcement.
"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 post traumatic 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, including64 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