Paying respect and remembrance to Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes

When an NBA basketball team relocates to another city, the history of that team goes with it.  For the Sacramento Kings, that means there is a lineage that began in Rochester, New York during the 1948-49 season with the Rochester Royals of the BAA.  That original team had great success, including a 45-15 record in its inaugural season and the franchise’s lone championship three years later during the 1950-51 season.

During the 1955-56 season, just two seasons before the team relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio, the Kings drafted 6-foot-7 forward Maurice Stokes with the 2nd overall pick of the first round and future Hall of Fame player, 6-foot-6 guard-forward Jack Twyman with the 2nd pick of the second round.

The duo moved with the franchise to Cincinnati for the 1957-58 season, but in the final game of the Royals’ first season in a new city, tragedy struck.  I could re-write the story with all the incredible details, but it’s already been done.  In fact, the story of Maurice Stokes and Jack Twyman, two teammates tied together forever, can be seen in a three part series of videos below.

Maurice Stokes passed away April 6, 1970 at the age of 36, after suffering a heart attack.  Jack Twyman, a man who took the word teammate to a whole new level, passed away this last Wednesday, May 30, 2012, at the age of 78 from an aggressive form of blood cancer.  You can see both players’ banners hanging from the rafters of Power Balance Pavilion, even though they played in a different city more than fifty years earlier.

The legacy of these two men has been handed from Rochester to Cincinnati, Cincinnati to Kansas City and finally Kansas City to Sacramento, where their banners hang proudly from the rafters.  Take the 20 plus minutes to sit back and watch this remarkable story and if you get a chance to catch a game in Sacramento, give a glance up.


James Ham

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