Three Time NBA Champion, Longtime Coach Paul Silas Dies At 79!
Paul Silas learned to have patience through basketball.
He had to wait ten years as a player before claiming his first title. He waited 15 years as a coach before getting another opportunity to manage a squad. He had to wait 20 years as a father before his son was allowed to run a business.
Paul Silas claimed in 2013 that “I always tried to be positive, and I think it usually worked out.”
Paul Silas passed away, his family confirmed on Sunday. He significantly impacted the game as a player, coach, and National Basketball Players Association president. The Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas’ father, Silas, was 79 years old.
Michael Jordan, an owner of the Charlotte Hornets, said, “He blended the expertise accumulated over 40 years as an NBA player and coach with an inherent sense of how to mix discipline with his never-ending enthusiasm.” “Paul’s lively and personable attitude was followed with an anecdote for every situation, whether on the court or off. He was one of the greatest players in our history, and we will miss him.
The New York Times was informed by Paula Silas-Guy, Silas’ daughter, that her father died from a heart arrest on Saturday night. The Boston Globe initially reported Silas’ passing.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “We mourn the passing of former NBA All-Star and head coach Paul Silas. The several players and coaches he influenced, including his son, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas, are examples of Paul’s lasting contributions to the game. Our sincere condolences go out to Paul’s family.
RIP to Hall of Famer, 3X NBA Champion, and my guy Paul Silas. Paul made a huge contribution to the game of basketball and will be sorely missed! Cookie and I send our prayers and condolences to the entire Silas family 🙏🏾❤️
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) December 11, 2022
Funeral tributes poured in immediately. The Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams and Charlotte coach Steve Clifford were among those who spoke extensively about Silas’ impact on their careers during pregame moments of silence, which were observed among other locations in New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York, and Houston.
He is a god in my family’s eyes. “He’s bigger than life,” stated Clifford.
Beginning in 1980, Paul Silas coached the then-San Diego Clippers for three years, marking the start of his tenure as a head coach. He returned to head coaching after more than ten years as an assistant, working with the Charlotte Hornets, the New Orleans Hornets, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Charlotte Bobcats.
By winning precisely 400 games—387 during the regular season and 13 more during the postseason—he led four of those clubs to the playoffs.
After LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated Detroit on Sunday night, Spectrum SportsNet quoted James as saying, “Probably one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever been around.” “With him, my adventure in this league got underway. Hearing that news was painful because of his command, convictions, attention to detail, and love for his family.
On Sunday night, the Rockets hosted Milwaukee and won 97-92. While the Silas family grieves, the Rockets have assistant coach John Lucas manage the club in the interim. It is unclear how long Stephen Silas will be absent from the team.
In a statement issued by the franchise, the Cavaliers praised Paul Silas for “inspiring generations of NBA players and coaches with his engaging presence and enormous personality.” “We extend our sincere sympathies to Silas’ family and all of his friends. Coach, take a deep breath.
Beginning as an advance scout and subsequently working as an assistant on his father’s staff with the Hornets in 2000, Stephen Silas entered the NBA when his father was coaching in Charlotte. Stephen Silas had to wait 20 years for the opportunity to become a head coach; Houston gave it to him in 2020.
In a 2021 Rockets documentary about his coaching career, Stephen Silas remarked, “My dad was my No. 1 mentor, someone I could lean on, ask questions, and he asked questions of me.” He greatly appreciated my viewpoint, which I found odd considering my youth and lack of expertise.
Before obtaining his big chance, Stephen Silas persevered for a long time. He witnessed his father patiently waiting for the position he desired as well. After being sacked by the San Diego Clippers in 1983, Paul Silas didn’t have another head coaching opportunity until Dave Cowens, for whom Paul Silas had served as an assistant, resigned from Charlotte in 1999 following a 4-11 start to the abbreviated 1998–99 season.
Image source: dailymail
“I remained upbeat. In a 2013 speech to the Rotary Club of Charlotte, Paul Silas said, “I had an optimistic mindset. “Even though I was unsuccessful in getting the job, I vowed not to be dejected. I’ll think positively.
In Cleveland, Silas would eventually assume command. He arrived in 2003, the same year that the Cavaliers selected James.
According to Paul Silas, LeBron was terrific during my two years as his coach. At 18, he was familiar with Bill Russell and many other players who had come through, who most players his age were unaware of. And he was aware of the game.
James would eventually succeed and win a title. Paul Silas also needed some time to develop as a player before reaching that level.
In 16 seasons with St. Louis and Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix, Boston, Denver, and Seattle, he averaged 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds and was a five-time selection to the All-Defensive team. Silas won his first two championships with the Celtics in his tenth season as a player. He later won a third with the SuperSonics. When he retired, he was the oldest player in the NBA at age 36. And Silas presided over a period when rosters expanded, wages increased, and benefits improved in his capacity as union president.
The Suns said in a statement on Sunday that he was respected by everyone who came into contact with him in the NBA and that they were appreciative of his career of service to the sport.
In three seasons of collegiate basketball at Creighton, Paul Silas averaged 20.5 points and 21.6 rebounds. In 2017, he was elected to the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
According to Bluejays coach Greg McDermott, few will match his stellar career as a player and coach.
LeBron James’ First Head Coach Was Paul Silas
After playing, Silas transitioned into coaching, eventually taking the helm of the San Diego Clippers for three years in 1980.
After his tenure with the Clippers, Silas worked as an assistant coach for over a decade before taking the helm of the Charlotte Bobcats, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New Orleans Hornets.
Silas served as superstar LeBron James’ first head coach while he was a member of the Cavaliers.
With a final record of 387-488, Silas guided the Hornets teams to the playoffs three times, twice making it to the conference semifinals.
“Our Hornets family mourns the passing of Paul Silas,” said Hornets owner Michael Jordan in a statement following Silas’ death. Paul, who twice served as our head coach, was a fantastic motivator and leader. He blended his extensive experience as a player and coach in the NBA for almost 40 years with an inherent sense of balancing discipline with his unwavering optimism.
“Paul’s lively and personable attitude was followed with an anecdote for every situation, whether on the court or off. He was among the greatest players in our game ever, and he will be missed. The entire Silas family, including his wife Carolyn, children Paula and Stephen, and I, are in his and our organization’s thoughts.
The Houston Rockets’ current head coach is Stephen Silas. Due to the passing of his father, Silas will be unable to attend the Rockets’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night.
Paul Silas, the father of Rockets head coach Stephen Silas, passed away on Sunday, and the Fertitta Family and the Rockets organization expressed their “deep sorrow” in a statement. “Stephen and his family are in our thoughts and prayers during this trying time,”