One month ago, Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas received news that no child ever wants to hear. His father and best friend, NBA player and coach Paul Silas, 79, had passed away from cardiac arrest at his home in North Carolina.
Coach Silas stepped away briefly to help his family process the loss and returned after missing one game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
On Saturday, he will be absent from the bench against the Detroit Pistons to be in attendance for his father’s memorial service. Assistant coach John Lucas II will coach the team in Silas’ absence.
“It’s going to be emotional,” Silas told reporters earlier in the week in Houston. “I’ve been in this whirlwind that we’ve had, as far as the season is concerned, and I haven’t had to kind of deal with it recently. It is going to be great to see a bunch of people I haven’t seen in a long time. A bunch of people who played for my dad, or my dad played with. There’s not a playbook for grieving.”
“So, you just do the best you can and take the moments that you need. And this is a job for me, and I spend a lot of time doing my best at this job, whether it’s preparing, practicing, or games, but there are times outside of this game that I think about it a lot. I miss him.”
The elder Silas was selected in the second round of the 1964 NBA draft by the St. Louis Hawks. Ten years later, he won his first of three NBA championships as a member of the Boston Celtics and Seattle Supersonics. During his 16-year career, he made the All-Defensive team five times.
After he retired from the NBA in 1980, Paul began his coaching career with the San Diego Clippers as a head coach until 1983. He took a five-year hiatus before coming back to coaching as an assistant and ultimately working his way back into a head coaching position in 2013 to finish out his career.
Stephen Silas began his journey in the NBA as an advance scout before working his way up to being an assistant coach in 2000 under his father, who was head coach of the Charlotte Hornets at the time.
“This (coaching) is something that he really wanted to do, and I wanted him to do it,” Paul Silas had said regarding his son during an interview in Charlotte during the 2000-01 season. “He understands that I am still dad, but in a working relationship, I am coach.”
In 2021, the Houston Rockets produced the documentary “Ready to Lead,” which was based on the journey Stephen took to becoming a head coach in the NBA. Silas recalled his first job with the Hornets, which involved working for his father.
“My dad, of course, he was my No. 1 mentor, someone whom I could lean on, ask questions, and he asked questions of me,” Silas said. “He really valued my opinion, which was kind of weird to me, me being so young and not having much experience, but he would lean on me.”
Silas will be back in time for his team to prepare for its next game versus Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Toyota Center.
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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire