James Silas is one of those unique players who spent the greater portion of his career with one team. Originally drafted in 1972 into the NBA, Silas was waived by the Houston Rockets before suiting up. He was then invited by the Dallas Chaparrals to come play in the ABA, which he did. The Chaparrals left Dallas and headed down I-35 to San Antonio and became the Spurs.
James spent nine of his ten seasons with the Chaparrals/Spurs making the ABA All-Star Team in 1975 and 1976.
Silas was traded along with the signing rights to Rich Yonakor to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for cash and a 1982 second round draft choice.
Silas averaged 16.7 points per game over his time in Texas and served as the Spurs’ captain. He was the first player to have his jersey retired by the Spurs organization and was consequently the first subject of our Hanging From the Rafters series.
His ability to weave effortlessly around the court earned him the nickname “The Snake.” In tandem with George Gervin, it is no wonder the Spurs have had so many successful seasons of basketball all the way back to the very beginning.
Happy birthday, Mr. Silas. Many happy returns.
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