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NBA to give inaugural Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

NBA's new award will honor the top teammate in the league. (NBA.com)
The NBA's new award will honor the top teammate in the league. (NBA.com)

A couple of hours before Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, David Stern and the NBA will give out the inaugural Twyman-Stokes Award to honor the top teammate of the season in the NBA. The award is named after Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes, both of whom are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and who hail from Pittsburgh, Pa., and played on the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals together from 1955 to 1958.

Steve Aschburner from NBA.com has the explanation of how the Twyman-Stokes Award is determined and the candidates for the first year of the award.

The announcement and presentation of the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award will be made before Game 2 of the 2013 Finals Sunday evening at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The winner was chosen from a vote of NBA players. Ballots featured 12 nominees, six from each conference selected by a panel of NBA Legends according to 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.

Finalists for the inaugural Twyman/Stokes Award were Jerry Stackhouse (Brooklyn Nets), Luke Walton(Cleveland Cavaliers), Andre Iguodala (Denver Nuggets), Jarrett Jack (Golden State Warriors), Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers), Chauncey Billups (Los Angeles Clippers), Shane Battier (Miami Heat), Roger Mason, Jr. (New Orleans Hornets), Jason Kidd (New York Knicks), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder),Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), and Emeka Okafor (Washington Wizards).

The award is voted on by the players using a point system. You're not allowed to vote for anybody on your own team, and each vote is assigned a point value. First-place votes are worth 10 points, second-place votes are worth seven points, third-place votes are worth five points, fourth-place votes are worth three points, and you get one point for a fifth-place vote. The player with the most points from the voting tallies is award the honor.

As Aschburner tells in the article, Twyman and Stokes were teammates with the Royals for three seasons before a tragic fall in a game in Minneapolis put Stokes in a coma and left him permanently paralyzed. The fall caused a serious head injury for Stokes. Twyman became Stokes' legal guardian and managed to provide funding for Stokes' medical costs by both successfully arguing for work-injury compensation on Stokes' behalf and raising money through a charity basketball event he organized.

Stokes died in 1970, but funds raised after his death have been used to help other players in need of assistance.

The award will be announced at 7 p.m. ET Sunday before Game 2.

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