An Unbreakable Bond: The Brotherhood of Maurice Stokes and Jack Twyman
Maurice Stokes seemed destined for greatness in the National Basketball Association. An All-American at tiny Saint Francis College in western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh native earned NBA Rookie-of-the-Year honors in 1956 and broke the league’s single-season rebounding record in 1957.
The direction of Stokes’ basketball career – and his life – changed dramatically on March 12, 1958. During a game against the Detroit Pistons, the Cincinnati Royals star fell awkwardly and hit his head against the court. He became paralyzed from the neck down as a result of the fall. The medical bills, and the attention required, became almost insurmountable.
Enter Jack Twyman. Stokes’ teammate with the Royals, Twyman became Maurice’s legal guardian and assumed responsibility for his friend’s medical expenses. He became a tireless fundraiser for Stokes. He shared Maurice’s story with anyone who would listen and he championed the cause of raising money to pay Stokes’ bills.
Stokes was black and Twyman was white – in 1950s America – but their story transcends race. It is a story of perseverance, of selflessness, of brotherhood and of an unbreakable bond.
Pat Farabaugh Presentation (11/10/2015) to the Squirrel Hill Historical Society
Pat Farabaugh is a faculty member in the Department of Communications at Saint Francis University. This is his second book. He has also taught at Penn State University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He worked in athletic media relations at Bucknell, Saint Francis and Slippery Rock universities before beginning his teaching career.
A basketball junkie, Farabaugh has never seen a shot he didn’t like. His favorite pastime is playing/watching/talking hoops with his stepson, Logan Homerick.