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Remembering Paul Silas, The First Man To Coach LeBron James In The NBA

Remembering Paul Silas The First Man To Coach LeBron James In The NBA
Remembering Paul Silas The First Man To Coach LeBron James In The NBA

 

Paul Silas, a legendary NBA player and former coach, died at the age of 79. Fans of professional basketball may recall Silas for winning three championships as a player with the Boston Celtics (1974,1976, and 1979). (1974,1976, and 1979). He was one of the best rebounders in NBA history, reclaiming the ball after a missed shot. Silas remained active in the sport after retiring as an active player in 1980, and his appointment as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets in 1999 paved the way for future success.

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Silas was born on July 12, 1943, in Prescott, Arkansas, but he spent the majority of his childhood in Oakland, California. He went to McClymonds High School, a large school on the city’s east side with a rich history in sports. Baseball luminaries Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson, as well as iconic Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, were all McClymonds grads. Silas received his bachelor’s degree in 1964 after moving to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

While still a Creighton student, Silas’ all-around ability and competitiveness began to differentiate him as a future professional standout. Silas went on to become one of just six players in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history to average over 20 points and over 20 rebounds per game in a single season throughout his varsity years. This honor is shared by players such as Julius Erving, Bill Russell, and Artis Gilmore. He is presently ranked sixth overall and holds the NCAA record for most rebounds in a three-year career. When Silas played college basketball, it was unusual for freshmen to play on the varsity level, according to history.

Silas’ college experience piqued the curiosity of pro scouts for additional reasons. His incredible 38 rebounds in a game on February 19, 1962, still rank ninth all-time. In 1963, he led the NCAA in rebounds with an average of 20.6 per game. The St. Louis Hawks selected him with the No. 12 overall pick in the 1964 NBA Draft, and he went on to play 16 years in the NBA with five different clubs.

Silas returned to the NBA after retiring in 1980, and he quickly became the head coach of the San Diego Clippers. He then spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, and Charlotte Hornets. Beginning in 1998, he led the Charlotte Hornets to four playoff berths, including two trips to the Eastern Conference finals.

Silas was the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2003 to 2005, where he first coached LeBron James in the NBA. He made another brief appearance from 2010 to 2012 before taking over as Charlotte’s head coach. In his twelve years as a head coach in the league, Silas had a 387-488 record (.442 winning percentage), and his teams made the playoffs four times. Silas’ son, Stephen Silas, is the current head coach of the Houston Rockets.

The basketball world is still in mourning for Silas, who died Saturday night at his home in Denver, North Carolina, according to his family. Cardiac arrest was the cause of death. “Probably one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever been around,” James said of his first-ever NBA head coach. He was the catalyst for my entry into this league.”

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Written by How Africa News

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