New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday was named the 2019-20 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year on Tuesday, the NBA announced.
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.”
Holiday received 53 of a possible 267 first-place votes from other NBA players, beating out Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris and Milwaukee Bucks guard Kyle Korver for the honor.
In a video posted to the team’s Twitter account, Holiday thanked his teammates, the NBA and the Pelicans.
“Thank you guys so much for awarding me with the Tywman-Stokes teammate award,” he said. “I’m incredibly honored and also incredibly humbled to be a part of a list of greats in this league who have done so many things to mold my game even on and off the court.
“I want to thank the NBA.I want to thank the Pelicans, but most of all, I want to thank my teammates. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have gotten this award. Thank you guys, and God bless.”
Holiday and his wife Lauren, a former gold medalist for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, announced in July that Holiday’s game checks for the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season would be donated to the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund, which is designed to aid communities in the New Orleans, Indianapolis and Los Angeles areas.
Most of the money will be dedicated to nonprofits, Black-owned businesses and citywide initiatives that seek to bring about equitable outcomes for Black communities and communities of people of color in New Orleans (up to $1.5 million), Los Angeles and Compton, Calif. (up to $1.5 million), and Indianapolis (up to $1 million). Another $1 million will go to Black-owned businesses in more than 10 other cities across the country, while $500,000 is committed to institutions of higher learning, including historically Black colleges and universities.
Holiday averaged 19.1 points, 6.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds this season.
“There isn’t a more deserving player nor one that better embodies what this award signifies, on and off the court, than Jrue Holiday,” Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement.
“Jrue’s concern for and connection to his community is at the heart of everything we want this organization to represent. The work that he and his wife Lauren have done locally in New Orleans, as well as in Southern California and Indiana cannot go unnoticed, and his willingness to donate his full remaining salary following the restart of the 2019-2020 season to the ongoing fight for social justice further demonstrates what type of human being Jrue is. We are honored and grateful that Jrue is part of our Pelicans family.”
Holiday joins Chauncey Billups (2012-13), Shane Battier (2013-14), Tim Duncan (2014-15), Vince Carter (2015-16), Dirk Nowitzki (2016-17), Jamal Crawford (2017-18) and Mike Conley (2018-19) as winners of the award.
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 suffered 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 in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Twyman, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983, died in 2012.