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The story of Maurice Stokes is one of America’s greatest sporting tragedies. Stokes was a young star for the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals during the 1950’s, averaging a spectacular 16.4 points and 17.3 rebounds per game in his three seasons with the Royals. During the final game of the 1957-58 season, Stokes was knocked to the hardwood while driving to the basket. Severe complications followed, and the 6’7” Stokes was left paralyzed by his injuries. In swooped Jack Twyman, his fellow Hall of Famer and teammate, with Twyman taking on the responsibility of Stokes’ guardianship for much of the remainder of the former St. Francis star’s life. Stokes passed away on April 6th, 1970, at the age of 36.

To minimize the financial burden on Stokes after his injury, Twyman and Milton Kutsher began a charity basketball game featuring the stars of the NBA at Kutsher’s Country Club in Monticello, New York. The game was originally held on an asphalt court at Kutsher’s, and the competition was swift and fierce. In 1969, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made his first appearance at the Stokes Game, notching a solid dunk over Wilt Chamberlain. Offered here is Abdul-Jabbar’s plaque from his inaugural Stokes Game in 1969. This plaque features a placard etched with “11th Annual Maurice Stokes Basketball Game Lew Alcindor August 19th, 1969 Kutsher’s Country Club Monticello, N.Y.” Two raised torches flank a raised basketball and player near the top of this 11.75 x 9-inch plaque. This item comes with a LOA signed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Please note that this lot has a 25% Buyer’s Premium (28% if payment is made using a credit card and/or is not paid within 10 days of invoice). Goldin Auctions will be donating 5% of the winning bid price to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

1969 11th Annual Maurice Stokes Basketball Game Plaque Presented To Lew Alcindor (Abdul-Jabbar LOA)
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