SCP Auctions April 2011 Internet Auction
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Maurice Stokes was a blossoming star for the Royals in Rochester and Cincinnati before his career was tragically cut short by a brain injury after just three years. Stokes went down in the final regular-season game in 1958, hitting his head on the floor at Minneapolis. He was unconscious for several minutes, revived and returned to the game. Three days later, after scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in the playoff opener, he fell into a coma. The diagnosis was post-traumatic encephalopathy, a brain injury that robbed Stokes of his speech and motor skills. The condition was progressive, leaving this mountain of a man paralyzed and facing unfathomable medical bills. Jack Twyman stepped in and became Stokes' legal guardian, arranging for his needs. His concern for a friend, a teammate, a fellow human being, led to the creation of the Maurice Stokes Foundation and an annual charity All-Star game. Each summer, NBA players and coaches gathered at Kutsher's Country Club in Monticello, N.Y., and played a game to raise funds for Stokes' care. It was a basketball who's who, everybody from Chamberlain and Russell to Cousy and Abdul-Jabbar, showing up at the Catskill Mountains resort every year on the first Tuesday in August to play some hoops. Red Auerbach also lent his support to Maurice Stokes. Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham remembered those days at Kutsher's. "Playing in the Stokes games was like being asked to play in an All-Star game," he said. "Everybody was there. To see everyone offering their services at their own expense was really special. It wasn't like guys were making a lot of money. But it was so important to help a fraternity brother." Stokes was there for the early games in a wheelchair, always cheerful, always smiling. Twelve years after being stricken, Maurice Stokes passed away in 1970.
Offered here are two of Red’s mementos from his participation in the 1963 and 1964 Maurice Stokes Games. These include a small wooden box from 1963 with a metal basketball emblem and engraved placard on the lid, as well as a 10 ½ by 12 ½ photo plaque from 1964 depicting Stokes in his prime. Includes a letter of provenance from the Auerbach estate.