“To Hear This News Is Very Sad” | The Basketball World Reacts To NBA Great Paul Silas’ Passing. He Was LeBron James’ First Coach

LeBron James first coach Paul Silas passes away
(Getty Images)

The sports world is mourning the loss of NBA great Paul Silas, who died Saturday at the age of 79. 

The former player, coach, and father of Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas passed away due to cardiac arrest, according to the Boston Globe, which first reported it. 

Paul Silas was drafted in 1964 by the St. Louis Hawks and was known mostly as a ferocious rebounder who averaged just under 10 boards a game. He played for the St. Louis Hawks, who eventually became the Atlanta Hawks, the Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, and Seattle SuperSonics.

Paul Silas Was LeBron James’ First NBA Coach 

Silas’ first of his two all-star seasons came in the 1971-’72 season, where he averaged just over 17 points a game, four assists, and just under 12 rebounds a game. That was with the Phoenix Suns. But his arguably, most accomplished times came with the Boston Celtics and Seattle SuperSonics, where he won his three championships.

Silas turned to coaching after his playing days were over and that’s where he left an indelible impression on the game and future generations of pros such as LeBron James, whom Silas helped navigate through his early NBA transition. 

James averaged 24 points and nearly 6.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists with the Cleveland Cavaliers during his first two NBA seasons under Silas.

Silas coached for over 30 years and made the playoffs three times. He had a streak of five consecutive winning seasons that started with him coaching the Charlotte Hornets.

Coaching ran in his blood, which is why his son Stephen Silas is now coaching the Houston Rockets. Silas was very proud of his son being the head coach of a professional team as well.

The younger Silas has already proved to be a chip off the old block, establishing himself as a leader and cultivator of young talent. 

Legends Of The Game Speak On Paul Silas Passing 

Silas’ life was centered around basketball and family, and it was just a tremendous story to see both of those things coincide with his life, and how everything culminated with it. He left a lasting impression on anyone who crossed his path. 

The passing of Silas was devastating news for the basketball world, and many had nothing but great things to say about the former coach and player.

“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,” Charlotte Hornets chairman Michael Jordan said in a statement. “On or off the court, Paul’s enthusiastic and engaging personality was accompanied by an anecdote for every occasion. He was one of the all-time great people in our game, and he will be missed,” Jordan told NBA.com.


Paul Silas was ’Bron’s first coach in Cleveland, so you know this carries a lot of sentimental value to The King. Silas will be taking some time away from the Houston Rockets, following his father’s death. 

Condolences will be going out to his friends and family.