Birthdate: June 17, 1933
Birthplace: Rankin, Pennsylvania
High School: Pittsburgh Westinghouse (1951)
College: St. Francis, Pennsylvania (1955)
Maurice Stokes’ career was one of the most tragic in the history of basketball. After leading Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse High School to a pair of City championships, the 6-foot-7, 235-pound Stokes played brilliantly for St. Francis College. Averaging 22 points and 24 rebounds per game, Stokes led St. Francis into the NIT tournament in 1954 and 1955. Picked second by Rochester in the 1955 NBA draft, he led the Royals in points, rebounds and assists and was Rookie of the Year. The next year he broke the NBA record for rebounds, with 1,256. Moving with the franchise to Cincinnati for 1957-58, Stokes made the All-Star team for the third time. His career ended when he fell to the floor in the final game and hit his head. He went into a coma and was permanently paralyzed. He lived 12 more years, dying on April 6, 1970, always inspiring others with his courage and a ready smile. He was enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2004. Watch Jack Twyman accept his award at the Naismith Hall of Fame Ceremony.