Stephen Silas ‘needed’ hug from Monty Williams after death of father

Dec 14, 2022, 9:12 AM

Stephen Silas and Monty Williams share an embrace after a Rockets win over the Suns on Dec. 13, 202...

Stephen Silas and Monty Williams share an embrace after a Rockets win over the Suns on Dec. 13, 2022, following the death of Paul Silas. (Screenshot)


When the final buzzer sounded after arguably one of the most disappointing performances by his Phoenix Suns, Monty Williams looked like he couldn’t have cared less about how the Houston Rockets had dismantled his team.

He needed to reach his counterpart, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas, who made his emotional return after the death of his father, Paul Silas, a 16-year player and long-time NBA coach.

Cameras caught Williams and Silas sharing a few words and a long embrace at midcourt Tuesday after the 111-97 Rockets victory.

“I mean, everybody knows he’s like one of the best people in the world,” Silas said of Williams. “And it means a lot for him — you know, he’s been through so much and has so many like little tidbits and so many experiences that he draws from, but he has a great way of communicating.

“Tonight, his way of communicating was through a hug, which I needed. I love him for that. He’s a good man.”

Williams has been through his own journey of loss. His wife, Ingrid, died in a car crash in 2016.

Silas returned to the bench after taking only two games off following the death of his father. He also had moments with official Rodney Mott and Suns center Bismack Biyombo, who entered the NBA with Charlotte in 2011 when Paul Silas was head coach there. Stephen was an assistant on the staff.

“My dad was a coach and he would tell me to get your butt out there and coach. So that’s what I did,” Stephen Silas said of his return to the sidelines.

Paul Silas died on Saturday. He was 79.

Across his 16-year career, Silas spent three seasons with the Suns from 1969-72. He made his first All-Star team with Phoenix in 1972, becoming just the fourth player in the franchise’s short history at the time to earn that honor and the first center.

In addition, Silas made Second Team All-Defense for the 1970-71 season, the first Sun to ever make the team. He would go on to make one more with the Suns and had five overall selections in his career.

“The Phoenix Suns are saddened by the passing of Paul Silas, a beloved basketball figure and former player and assistant coach with the team,” the Suns said in a press release. “The first Suns center to be named an NBA All-Star and the first All-Defensive selection in franchise history, Paul still holds the Suns’ record for rebounds in a single season. Respected by all those who encountered him throughout the NBA, we are grateful for his contributions to the game across a lifetime in basketball. Our condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

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