NEW YORK, June 3, 2021 - NBA players have selected Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as the recipient of the 2020-21 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, the NBA announced today.
Presented annually since the 2012-13 season, the award recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.
A panel of league executives selected 12 nominees (six from each conference) for the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. Current NBA players selected the winner from the list of 12 nominees, with more than 300 players submitting their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.
In addition to Lillard, the nominees were Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, Dallas Mavericks center Boban Marjanović, Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, New York Knicks guard Theo Pinson and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Lillard received 40 of 303 first-place votes and earned 1,012 total points in balloting of NBA players. Paul finished in second place with 1,001 points. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five points for each third-place vote, three points for each fourth-place vote and one point for each fifth-place vote.
A nine-year NBA veteran, Lillard averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 67 games this season. The 6-2 guard was selected as an NBA All-Star for the fourth consecutive season and the sixth time overall. He helped lead the Trail Blazers to their eighth straight playoff appearance, the longest active streak in the NBA.
Lillard, 30, has played his entire NBA career with the Trail Blazers, who selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. This season, Lillard received the April NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente for his continued efforts to empower young people across Portland, marking the third time he has earned the monthly Community Assist Award. Two years ago, Lillard won the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, as administered and selected by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, for his outstanding service and dedication to the community.
The Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award is named for Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes, whose storied friendship transcended their Hall of Fame accomplishments. Twyman and Stokes were teammates on the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals from 1955-58. In the last game of the 1957-58 regular season, Stokes sustained an injury that led to his falling into a coma days later and becoming permanently paralyzed. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic encephalopathy, a brain injury that damaged his motor-control center. Stokes was supported for the rest of his life by Twyman, who became his legal guardian and advocate.
Twyman helped organize the NBA's Maurice Stokes Memorial Basketball Game, which raised funds for Stokes' medical care and, after Stokes' death in 1970 at age 36, for other players in need. In 2004, after years of lobbying by Twyman, Stokes was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Twyman, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983, died in 2012.
Below are voting totals for the 2020-21 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award and the list of all-time winners.
ABOUT JACK TWYMAN: A Pittsburgh native and collegiate standout at the University of Cincinnati, Twyman earned six NBA All-Star Game selections and two All-NBA Second Team honors in 11 seasons, all spent with the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals. Twyman was runner-up in the scoring race twice, including in 1959-60, when he finished with 2,338 points and averaged a career-high 31.2 points. He retired in 1966 with career averages of 19.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. After his playing career, he worked as a television analyst on NBA games.
ABOUT MAURICE STOKES: A Pittsburgh native like Twyman, Stokes was one of the first Black players to star at the collegiate and professional levels. At 6-7, 250 pounds, he possessed the talent and athleticism to play every position on the court. He led St. Francis (Pa.) University to the Final Four of the 1955 National Invitation Tournament before embarking on his NBA career with the Rochester Royals. Stokes won the 1955-56 NBA Rookie of the Year Award and earned All-Star selections in each of his three NBA seasons before sustaining his career-ending injury.