January 30, 2023

Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas was absent from Sunday’s victory over the Milwaukee Bucks as he and his family continue to mourn the loss of his father, former NBA All-Star Paul Silas.

The 79-year-old former power forward and head coach passed away Saturday of cardiac arrest, his family told The New York Times. The Boston Globe first reported the death of Paul Silas.

Led by assistant coach John Lucas, another former NBA player and head coach, Stephen’s fledgling Rockets roster topped two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, 97-92. Afterwards, Lucas dedicated the win to Stephen: “That’s for Coach. That’s for him.’

Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas (pictured, right, in 2011) was absent from Sunday's win over the Milwaukee Bucks as he and his family continue to mourn the loss of his father, former NBA All-Star Paul Silas (pictured, left, as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats)

Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas (pictured, right, in 2011) was absent from Sunday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks as he and his family continue to mourn the loss of his father, former NBA All-Star Paul Silas (pictured, left, as head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats)

Led by assistant coach John Lucas (left), another former NBA player and head coach, Stephen's fledgling Rockets roster topped two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, 97-92.  Afterwards, Lucas dedicated the win to Stephen: “That's for Coach.  It's for him'

Led by assistant coach John Lucas (left), another former NBA player and head coach, Stephen’s fledgling Rockets roster topped two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, 97-92. Afterwards, Lucas dedicated the win to Stephen: “That’s for Coach. It’s for him’

It’s still unknown how long Stephen will be away for the Rockets, but he and his family were certainly on the minds of those in attendance at Sunday’s game in Houston.

The team held a moment of silence for Paul before the tip, and Lucas – a frequent opponent of the elder Silas – shared some thoughts with reporters about his passing.

“From the team, coaching staff, all basketball personnel, all of our prayers and thoughts are with Coach and his family at this time,” Lucas said to begin his pregame availability. “Paul Silas has done a lot for basketball.”

Aside from winning a pair of NBA titles with the Boston Celtics in 1974 and 1976, and another with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979, Silas was known as one of the game’s best rebounders and toughest defenders. He later built his reputation on the NBA sidelines as a tough but gentle head coach with the San Diego Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Aside from winning a pair of NBA titles with the Boston Celtics in 1974 and 1976, and another with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979, Silas was known as one of the game's best rebounders and toughest defenders.  He later built his reputation on the NBA sidelines as a tough but gentle head coach with the San Diego Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Paul Silas played with the Celtics (pictured) as well as with the Suns, Nuggets and SuperSonics

Aside from winning a pair of NBA titles with the Boston Celtics in 1974 and 1976, and another with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979, Paul Silas was known as one of the game’s best rebounders and toughest defenders. He later built his reputation on the NBA sidelines as a tough but gentle head coach with the San Diego Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Paul’s place in the game was a constant for Stephen throughout his life. Incredibly, according to the Houston Chronicle, his first words were “Jo Jo White,” as in his father’s longtime teammate and Celtics point guard.

Stephen, 49, didn’t follow his father into an NBA career, but the former Brown University guard did earn his place in the coaching ranks as an assistant journeyman on seven different teams before being hired as head coach at Houston two years ago.

Since then, Stephen has helped develop the Rockets’ largely inexperienced roster, though the team is tied for last in the Western Conference at 8-18.

When asked about his missing coach on Sunday, forward Kenyon Martin Jr. to the Houston Chronicle that he and Stephen bonded from growing up in NBA circles. Like the younger Silas, Martin’s father was also an All-Star power forward.

“He and I have been in the same position, he was in that environment growing up and had that understanding of basketball, and with me my dad played. To follow in our fathers’ footsteps and have them in our corner and they’re tough on us, it’s kind of cool to have those conversations.”

Head coach Paul Silas of the Charlotte Bobcats and Kenyon Martin of the Los Angeles Clippers talk on the sidelines during their game on February 11, 2012 in Charlotte.  Now their sons Stephen Silas and Kenyon Martin Jr.  together in Houston

Head coach Paul Silas of the Charlotte Bobcats and Kenyon Martin of the Los Angeles Clippers talk on the sidelines during their game on February 11, 2012 in Charlotte. Now their sons Stephen Silas and Kenyon Martin Jr. together in Houston

Paul's place in the game was a constant for Stephen throughout his life.  Incredibly, according to the Houston Chronicle, his first words were

When asked about his missing coach on Sunday, forward Kenyon Martin Jr.  to the Houston Chronicle that he and Stephen bonded from growing up in NBA circles.  Like the younger Silas, Martin's father was also an All-Star power forward

When asked about his missing coach on Sunday, forward Kenyon Martin Jr. (right) told the Houston Chronicle that he and Stephen (left) bonded from growing up in NBA circles. Like the younger Silas, Martin’s father was also an All-Star power forward

Stephen was never shy about being Paul’s son, instead he was very proud of his father’s career.

When Stephen discussed his father last June, he said he embraced his father’s legacy rather than trying to shy away from it.

“Being the son of Paul Silas has always been great for me, and of course it brings challenges, but I’ve never shied away from it,” said Stephen, as quoted by the Chronicle. “I haven’t really done anything to isolate myself or make people think I’m my own man and stuff. I have too much respect for him and what he’s done, what he’s done for me.’

And of course, Paul was happy to play the role of proud father in 2019, when Stephen was hired to coach the Rockets – a job he was passed over for once in 2003.

“I told him it would happen,” Paul told The Chronicle at the time. “I knew it would happen to him. They wanted to catch him. He said, “I don’t think it’s going to happen, Dad.” I said, “It is.” And it did. I’m just happy as hell.

It’s still unknown when Stephen Silas will return to the floor, but there doesn’t seem to be much pressure on him to rush back.

Martin went on to say the team want him to take his time to return to court.

“We kind of have that resemblance, so I kind of sympathize with him,” said Martin. “We don’t know how long Coach will be out. We want him to get his headroom right. We want to go out, play hard and get him a few wins.”

Silas, pictured in 1971, was an All-Star in 1971-72 and again in 1974-75

Silas, pictured in 1971, was an All-Star in 1971-72 and again in 1974-75

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