Clippers guard Chauncey Billups won the first Twyman-Stokes Award as the NBA's best teammate, the league announced Sunday.
Billups was selected in a vote by NBA players, who were asked to choose the best teammate based on "selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model ... and commitment and dedication to his team," according to the league.
The award will be given annually and is named after former Cincinnati Royals teammates Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes. In the last game of the 1957-58 season, Stokes sustained an injury and fell into a coma a few days later, leaving him paralyzed. Twyman supported Stokes for the rest of his life, becoming Stokes' legal guardian and advocate.
Stokes died in 1970 at age 36.
"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."
Billups, 36, played only 22 games for the Clippers this season, mainly because of various injuries stemming from a torn Achilles' tendon, but he earned more voting points than second-place Shane Battier and third-place Jason Kidd.
"I pride myself in being a good human being and a good teammate," Billups said. "I think that there will be other recipients up here every single year that will be just as deserving as I am.
"I came in the league awhile ago and I had some guys that were veterans on some teams that I played on that kind of taught me how to lead. There were people who taught me how to study the game, how to dress, how to shake somebody's hands, look them in the eye. I just try to send some of those same messages."
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