LeBron James’ First Head Coach Paul Silas Dead At 79

Paul Silas - YouTube

Paul Silas, the two-time NBA Champion who served as LeBron James’ first head coach, died at 79. Silas was a former NCAA record holder who won two NBA titles with the Boston Celtics before moving into a head coaching career in the NBA.

Here is a look at Paul Silas’ death and what he meant to basketball.

Paul Silas dead at 79

Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan revealed that Paul Silas died on Sunday, Dec. 11. He was 79. “To watch him play was a joy,” Ryan wrote. “To be his friend was an honor.”

Paul Silas - YouTube

Silas was a college star at Creighton University, where he set the NCAA record for the most rebounds in three seasons. He also led the NCAA in rebounds in 1962-63 while also averaging over 20 points per game. Paul brought that double-double skill to the NBA, where he became a major star.

After the St. Louis Hawks (now the Atlanta Hawks) drafted him in the 1964 NBA Draft, he moved on to the Phoenix Suns and then moved on to the Boston Celtics in 1971. In Boston, Silas was a huge success. He played for their NBA Championship squads in 1974 and 1976. Then, he moved on to the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) in 1977 and won a third NBA Championship there in 1979.

Silas retired in 1980 and moved on to coaching. After two decades as an assistant coach, he took over as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets (now in New Orleans) in 1999. He moved on to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 and that was where he coached LeBron James when the King came into the NBA. After leaving Cleveland, he finished his career coaching the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets) from 2010 to 2012.

Silas has a legacy in the NBA as well. His son, Stephen Silas, is the head coach of the Houston Rockets.

NBA mourns the loss of Paul Silas

NBA players and legends flocked to social media to honor their fallen friend. Magic Johnson sent out a tweet, calling Silas, “my guy” and saying “Paul made a huge contribution to the game of basketball and will be sorely missed.”

Silas was also related to music royalty, the cousin of The Pointer Sisters. The legendary trio sent out a tweet as well, writing, “The POINTERS & The SILAS’ lived & grew up together in our house in Oakland CA. We were SO PROUD of him when he joined the “NBA”.”

Furthermore, NBA icon Michael Jordan also released a statement about Silas’s death. “He combined the knowledge developed over nearly 40 years as an NBA player and coach with an innate understanding of how to mix discipline with his never-ending positivity.”

Send your well-wishes to Paul Silas’ family in the comments below. Finally, let us know if you have any fond memories of the basketball legend.

Shawn Lealos
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