SFU Traditions: The Maurice Stokes Story


No story embodies this lesson of servant leadership quite like that of the friendship between Saint Francis grad Maurice Stokes '55 and his Cincinnati Royals teammate Jack Twyman.

The Meaning Behind Become That Someone

Our university motto “become that someone” speaks to our Catholic-Franciscan mission to help students become compassionate, caring, successful professionals. The values of faith, generosityrespect, discovery, and joy run deep in our culture and attract students with a desire to become that someone who makes a difference in the lives of others. 

Jack Twyman on Maurice Stokes

An Unbreakable Bond

The idea of using "become that someone" as an inspirational rallying call began  in SFU Athletics to honor the special friendship between Saint Francis grad  Maurice Stokes '55 and his Cincinnati Royals teammate Jack Twyman. 

During the 2012-13 season, the Red Flash found inspiration in a quote from Twyman: "Maurice was on his own, something had to be done, and somebody had to do it. I was the only one that was there, so I became that someone."   

The theme has continued to thrive in various iterations in athletics world, especially with the Red Flash's partnership with Team Impact. Given the theme's grassroots popularity with students, and its perfect fit with the Franciscan mission of service to others, the university decided to adopt it as the official branding statement in 2017. 

An Unbreakable Bond


The Stokes-Twyman Story

In his brief three-year career, Stokes made the All-Star and All-NBA second teams in each season, but his career was cut short due to a terrible fall in 1958. During a game against the Minneapolis Lakers, Stokes fell and landed on his head. He was knocked out and slowly drifted back into consciousness. Despite the severity of the fall, he was sent back into the game.


Just days later, Stokes suffered a series of seizures while aboard an airplane to Cincinnati to face the Detroit Pistons in a playoff game. The ordeal left Stokes permanently paralyzed and unable to speak. The medical bills, and the attention required, became almost insurmountable.  Enter Jack Twyman. Stokes' teammate with the Royals.  Twyman became Maurice's legal guardian and assumed responsibility for his friend's medical expenses. The never-ending assists from Twyman helped keep Stokes alive until 1970.