The Brief Career of the NBA's First Black Superstar

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Pub Date Oct 01 2024 | Archive Date Sep 30 2024
Lerner Publishing Group | Millbrook Press ™

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Stokes tells the story of the NBA’s first Black superstar, Maurice Stokes, who is not as well known as he should be in part because of a career-ending injury.

Coauthors and basketball enthusiasts John Coy and Ty Chapman highlight what a standout Stokes was: he was 6’7” and as they write, “nobody had ever seen a guy his size score, defend, rebound, dribble, and pass so well.”

In a 1958 game against the Minneapolis Lakers, Stokes, went down hard and hit his head, losing consciousness. At the time, there was no concussion protocol, and Stokes went back into the game. A few days later, he went into a coma and woke up unable to move his body from the neck down. Players did not have any sort of financial support in situations like this, and Stokes’s teammate Jack Twyman worked with other players and Milton Kutsher to put on a benefit game during the summer at Kutsher’s hotel in the Catskills. This game became an annual tradition, and Stokes was eventually able to travel and watch the game. Wilt Chamberlain said of Stokes, “He had something transcending as a person. . . . Everybody loved him.”

Back matter includes some great historical photos as well as further information about Stokes, who was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, and about the NBA’s Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award.

This picture book biography provides a fascinating look at basketball history, accompanied by Lonnie Ollivierre's action-packed illustrations.

Stokes tells the story of the NBA’s first Black superstar, Maurice Stokes, who is not as well known as he should be in part because of a career-ending injury.

Coauthors and basketball enthusiasts...

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ISBN 9781728492490
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

What a story! Maurice Stokes was excelling and rising to the top of the game despite living in a time when Black players were often required to dull their shine to allow white players to make the big plays. Though his career was cut short, Stokes still make a lasting impact on the game and society. Despite the sadness of his illness, I enjoyed reading about this inspiring man.

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Over the years, I had heard very little about Maurice Stokes. I knew he was a pioneer in professional basketball, but I didn't know much about his life or career. The book "Stokes" is perfect for introducing young readers to this basketball trailblazer! Written in an easy-to-understand manner, it effectively captures Stokes' remarkable story and achievements. The beautiful illustrations add an engaging visual element that complements the text, making it an excellent resource for teaching children about this important figure in sports history.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. A huge thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC!

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This book was a good read. It gave great insight in to the world of a hero that many people don’t know about. It you have any interest in significant history of basketball this is a must read.

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My son was on cloud nine when I read him this book before bedtime, It was SO fun! The illustrations, the information, the whole layout, it was wonderful! So much fun information, and so great for kids into basketball.

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