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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.