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Chauncey Billups wins inaugural NBA Teammate of the Year award

Jun 9, 2013, 7:14 PM EDT

Chauncey Billups AP

Whether he was in uniform or in a suit on the sidelines as he recovered from a torn Achilles, a lot of Clippers players would turn to Chauncey Billups for advice. How to deal with certain defenses, how to cover particular players, whatever it was he was like another assistant coach for the team.

So it is fitting that he is the winner or the inaugural Twyman-Stokes Award for Best NBA teammate.

“I’m just very honored to be the first recipient of such a prestigious award…” Billups said. “I think more importantly this is about being a good person. There will be others up here in the next years who will be very deserving.”

There were 12 finalists for the award: 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).

So yes, this is pretty much the “veteran leadership award.” The way it is picked is… interesting. A group of legendary NBA players (that’s how the league described them) put together the list of a dozen candidates. Then NBA players vote on the award, however they can’t vote for anyone on their own team. To make this simple: The list is put together by and then voted on guys not in the locker room with the player that wins. Outsiders peering in get to decide the best teammate.

Not that Billups doesn’t deserve the award.

“Chauncey Billups defines what this award was designed to recognize, a player committed to his club, his teammates and his community,” NBA Commissioner David 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.”

This is going to be an annual award. With the trophy comes a $25,000 donation to the charity of the winner’s choice.

The award is officially called the Twyman-Stokes award, after Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes. Those two guys were rookies together on the 1956 Cincinnati Royals and the teammates both went on to be All-Stars and Stokes was the Rookie of the Year. In the last game of his third season Stokes fell and suffered a major head injury in a game — he was in a coma and was paralyzed because of it. Back in the day players didn’t make that much money (Twyman’s rookie contract was for $20,000 a year) and the team didn’t pick up the expenses, so Twyman did. He became Stokes legal guardian, put together charity games featuring the biggest stars of the day (Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and others) and also helped get the team to pick up costs for being injured on the job.

  1. bifford - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Glad to hear Billups was the first to win this, he’s been the model leader and professional in the NBA for the better part of a decade.

  2. saint1997 - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Who are these ‘legendary players’

  3. historyisyourfriend - Jun 9, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    As saint1997 mentioned..who are the legends who did the voting, and why are we making up new awards for (most) guys who are past their prime and their biggest contribution is “uh…attack the rim” or “go left because that guy favors his right”..

    Made up award out of nowhere does not equal “prestigious” Chauncey

  4. newyorkfootballjets - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    No jason kidd , some bs for sure!

  5. heathater4lifeson - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    @Newyorkfootballjets
    J Kidd may not have won teammate of the year award but he’s a finalist for husband of the year

    • badintent - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:22 AM

      Are you on Gloria Allred ‘s payroll ?

  6. redbaronx - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    Way to go Billups. Anyone who saw him in his days in Detroit to what he has provided for the Clippers know the guy is ALL about team. Very deserving!

    • bruce49418 - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      Just when I was starting to get over the Billups for Iverson trade… maybe The Answer will win it next year.

  7. readysethike - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    i sure thought samuel dalembert would win this award…he was real supportive of his team during there series with the heat

  8. mattbarkley123 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    what a honour

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