Maurice Stokes ( born June 17, 1933, Rankin, Pennsylvania, † April 6, 1970 in Cincinnati, Ohio ) was an American basketball player. Between 1955 and 1958 he played in the NBA for the crew of the Rochester Royals / Cincinnati Royals. In his first season he was named Rookie of the Year. Stokes was 2.01 m tall and played on the position of power forward. He put in the season 56/57 set a record for rebounds on ( 1.256 ), which was two years later surpassed by Bill Russell.
Stokes combined strength and speed with outstanding athleticism and was the prototype of later power forwards, Spencer Haywood on Karl Malone and Kevin Garnett. In the last game of the season 57/58 Stokes rushed unfavorably on the parquet floor and lost consciousness. He was treated with smelling salts, continued playing and was apparently unharmed, best basketball player of the game. For the following first round game of the play-offs Stokes was also set up, but suffered during the return flight after playing this game a collapse, which declined to a brain swelling caused by cabin pressure. Stokes fell into a coma and was paralyzed. A team-mate and close friend of Stokes, Jack Twyman, set up a foundation and collected as above U.S. $ 300,000 for Stokes ' medical treatment. Stokes died in 1970 of a heart attack. Despite his short career, Stokes was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 10, 2004.