Michael Jordan, the NBA legend who is the chairman of the Charlotte Hornets, released a touching statement on passing of Paul Silas on Sunday.
Silas, a three-time NBA champion and two-time All-Star who coached LeBron James and others, died Sunday at 79. Bob Ryan, the sports columnist emeritus for the Boston Globe, made the revelation about Silas’ death in a tweet Sunday morning.
Jordan was among those who paid tribute to Silas.
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“Our Hornets family mourns the passing of Paul Silas. Paul was an incredible leader and motivator who served as our head coach on two occasions,” Jordan said in a statement. “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.
“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. My thoughts, and the thoughts of our entire organization, are with his wife, Carolyn; his children, Paula and Stephen; and the entire Silas family.”
Silas was a second-round draft pick in 1964 of the St. Louis Hawks. He played for the Hawks from 1964 to 1969 and quickly became a serviceable forward in the NBA. He would join the Phoenix Suns in 1969 and make his first All-Star Game in 1972 – his final year in Phoenix.
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He made a real impact with the Boston Celtics from 1972-1976. He would make one more All-Star team and win two championships with the Celtics alongside Dave Cowens, John Havlicek, Paul Westphal and Jo Jo White, among others, helping maintain the early dynasty for the organization.
He would play his final four seasons either with the expansion Denver Nuggets or Seattle SuperSonics.
He wrapped his career with three NBA titles, two All-Star appearances and five All-Defensive Team selections. He averaged 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in his career.
Silas got his first head-coaching job with the San Diego Clippers in 1980. He coached three seasons there before he was let go. Silas didn’t get another head-coaching job until he was named the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets in 1998. He would also coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Bobcats.
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Silas is the father of two – his son Stephen Silas, who is the head coach of the Houston Rockets, and his daughter Paula.