Former NBA player and head coach Paul Silas has died at the age of 79.
Silas, whose time in the NBA spanned nearly 50 years, won two NBA titles with the Boston Celtics and one with the Seattle Super Sonics as a player. He was also LeBron James’ first coach as a pro.
The Boston Globe was the first to announce Silas’ passing on Sunday. His family later confirmed.
No cause of death was reported for Silas.
Silas was the 10th overall pick of the 1964 NBA Draft, having been selected by the St. Louis Hawks after setting a record for the most rebounds at Creighton over the span of three years. However, he really experienced his breakout after being traded to the Phoenix Suns.
The erstwhile player and coach made two All-Star appearances between 1972 and 1979, also winning his three rings within that period. He retired in 1980 and went on to become the head coach of the San Diego Clippers.
Silas didn’t experience notable fortunes as a coach for the Clippers, but would thereafter take over the reins for the Charlotte Hornets in the middle of the 1998/99 season after spending a few years as the team’s assistant coach. The Hornets went to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons after he was given the job on a full-time basis the next year.
As a coach, Silas was way more popular for being LeBron’s first coach in Cleveland. He was fired by the team in the middle of the 2004/05 campaign, having gone 35/47 the previous term.
He coached another two years in the NBA, returning to Charlotte to coach the Bobcats from 2010-2012.
Silas is the father of current Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas.
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