It’s been a month since Chauncey Billups’ season ended with the Clippers’ May 3 loss to Memphis, but he was back in the spotlight on Sunday, when he won the inaugural Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award.
The award came into existence this year and was first officially announced on Sunday, when the names of the 12 nominees (six from each conference) were released. David Stern presented the award to Billups before Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Miami, and as a part of the honor, the NBA will make a $25,000 donation to the charity of Billups’ choice.
“Chauncey Billups defines what this award was designed to recognize, a player committed to his club, his teammates and his community,” Stern said in a release. “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 award is named for Twyman and Stokes, who were friends and teammates on the Rochester and Cincinnati Royals from 1955-58. Stokes was paralyzed in the final game of the 1957-58 season, and Twyman supported his friend, who was eventually diagnosed with posttraumatic encephalopathy, for the rest of his life.
Stokes passed away in 1970, Twyman died in 2012.
The award, which is voted on by players, will be given annually to the player “deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model for other NBA players, and his commitment and dedication to his team,” according to the NBA’s release.
Billups played in just 22 regular-season and six playoff games this year for the Clippers. He’s a free agent this summer after playing in his 16th season in the league, and he said at the end of the Clippers’ season that he was feeling healthier than he had all year.