MANILA, Philippines – Veteran guard Chauncey Billups of the Los Angeles Clippers is the first-ever recipient of the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced.
|NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) and Jack Twyman's son Jay Twyman (C) hold the inaugural Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award with winner Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups before Game 2 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami, Florida June 9, 2013. Photo by Andrew Innerarity, Reuters.
NBA players selected Billups as the inaugural recipient of 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."
The Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award honors Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes, who were friends and teammates on the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals squads of the late 1950s.
In their last game of the 1958 season, Stokes suffered an on-court injury that led to a coma. He would eventually be paralyzed permanently.
Twyman became Stokes' legal guardian and supported his teammate for the rest of his life. Stokes died in 1970 at the age of 36. Twyman, meanwhile, passed away in May 2012 at the age of 78.
"What better way to honor the life-long bond that developed between Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes than by naming this award after them," NBA Commissioner David Stern said. "The Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award recognizes friendship and selflessness among teammates and celebrates the legacy of Jack and Maurice."
Billups, who entered the NBA in 1997, won the award ahead of Miami Heat forward Shane Battier and New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd.
"Chauncey Billups defines what this award was designed to recognize – a player committed to his club, his teammates and his community," said Stern.
"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."
The NBA will also make a donation of $25,000 to the charity of Billups' choice.