Jack Twyman remembered
UC Bearcat basketball legend Jack Twyman fulfilled every boy’s dream of tearing up a basketball court, becoming an All-American and playing for the pros. What he couldn’t have dreamed was becoming equally as famous for what he did off the court.
The six-time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer died May 30 at age 78. Twyman finished his college career in 1955 as the University of Cincinnati’s all-time leading scorer (1,598 points) and rebounder (1,242). His scoring total currently ranks ninth at UC, while his rebounding numbers rank second. Twyman is one of four former Bearcats to have their number retired. His No. 27 jersey hangs in Fifth Third Arena.
Selected by the Royals in the 1955 draft, the Pittsburgh native was named an NBA All-Star in six of his 11 seasons and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in ’83.
Twyman’s true legacy comes from a deep compassion he had for a teammate disabled at age 24. Maurice Stokes, a standout on the Royals, was named 1955-56 NBA Rookie of theYear and made the All-Star team all three seasons he played. A blow to his head on the court in 1958, however, left Stokes unable to walk, talk or pay for medical bills.
At 23, Twyman petitioned to become his friend’s legal guardian. Twyman managed Stokes’ bills, completed paperwork and maintained that relationship until Stokes died in 1970 — probably the greatest assist in basketball history.