Following the Los Angeles Lakers win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, LeBron James shared his thoughts on the passing of Paul Silas, 79. Silas was a three-time NBA champion as a player and was head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first two years of LeBron’s career (2003-04 and 2004-05).
“Probable one of the greatest human beings I’ve ever been around,” LeBron said in his on-court postgame interview. “The start of my journey in this league started with him. His command, his principles, his attention to detail, but his love for family. I feel for his whole family, his beautiful wife, obviously (Houston Rockets head coach) Stephen Silas down in Houston.
“Every time I would go back to Charlotte he would always come to the games. And I would always try to look for him in the crowd. To hear that news is very sad.”
“I coached LeBron for two years, his first two years, and LeBron was unbelievable,” Silas once reflected. “At 18 years old, he knew about Bill Russell, he knew about a lot of players who came through that most players his age don’t even know. And he understood the game.”
A long time ago, in an arena far, far away, I spoke to Paul Silas and LeBron at shootaround on the morning of his first preseason game.
Paul said he'd never seen a player with that level of court vision. We thought he meant a rookie, but he said no, he meant an NBA player. https://t.co/eQhMwkrJ9J
— Dave Hogg ✨ (@stareagle) December 12, 2022
Lakers legend Magic Johnson was among the many notable NBA figures to speak on Silas’s passing.
“RIP to Hall of Famer, 3X NBA Champion, and my guy Paul Silas,” Magic tweeted. “Paul made a huge contribution to the game of basketball and will be sorely missed! Cookie and I send our prayers and condolences to the entire Silas family.”
Tragically, this was not the first instance this weekend in which LeBron has discussed the death of a person closely tied to the beginnings of his career. On Friday, renowned soccer journalist Grant Wahl died covering the World Cup in Qatar. While writing for Sports Illustrated, Wahl authored the famous “Chosen One” cover story on LeBron.
You had a huge impact on me and my family and I’m so appreciative of you. A great person and journalist. Rest In Paradise Grant Wahl. 🙏🏾🤎👑 https://t.co/rvFDGEA9fz
— LeBron James (@KingJames) December 10, 2022
“Very fond of Grant, and having that cover shoot, me being a teenager and him covering that, was a pretty cool thing,” LeBron said following the Lakers’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. “He was always pretty cool to be around. He spent a lot of time in my hometown of Akron covering me over the course of time before that shoot came out. I’ve always kind of watched from a distance.”
LeBron James was asked postgame about the death of Grant Wahl. His response: pic.twitter.com/FeH9hHCTEE
— Sam DiGiovanni (@BySamDiGiovanni) December 10, 2022
“Anytime his name would come up, I would always think back to me as a teenager and having Grant in our building,” LeBron continued. “It’s a tragic loss. It’s unfortunate to lose someone as great as he was.”