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James Edward Silas (born February 11, 1949, in Tallulah, Louisiana[1]) is a retired American professional basketball player, at the guard position. Silas played the majority of his career with the San Antonio Spurs. His nicknames include "The Snake," "Captain Late," and "The Late Mr. Silas," the latter two referring to the fact that Silas seemed to play his best late in games.[2]





Silas played college basketball at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. In his senior year Silas led Stephen F. Austin to a 29-1 record, averaging 30.7 points per game.[3] Silas was also named an NAIA All-American twice in his college career.[4]


Silas was drafted in the fifth round of the 1972 National Basketball Association Draft by the Houston Rockets. However, he was waived by the Rockets before the 1972-73 season even began. Babe McCarthy, who was coaching the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association (ABA) at the time, decided to take a chance on Silas, and Silas signed with the Chaparrals in November 1972.[5] Silas would prove his worth, and at the end of the season he was named to the ABA All-Rookie team.[6]

Following the 1972-73 season, the Chaparrals were sold and moved to San Antonio, becoming the San Antonio Spurs. Silas was named to the ABA All-Star team in 1975 and 1976, as well as the All-ABA 2nd team in 1975 and All-ABA 1st team in 1976. Silas's best year statistics-wise was easily 1976, when he averaged 23.8 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game; the points and assists per game would prove to be the highest in his career.[7]

Silas played for the Spurs for eight seasons (nine if the one season with the Dallas Chaparrals is included), including five years in the NBA after the Spurs moved into that league in 1977. Following the 1981 season Silas was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he played for one year before retiring.[8]

Silas was an exceptional free throw shooter throughout his entire career, ranking in the top 10 in free throw percentage in six separate seasons, and finishing with a career free-throw percentage of 85.5%.[9]

On February 28, 1984, Silas's #13 became the first number ever retired by the San Antonio Spurs,[10] and he is currently one of only six players to have received that honor from the franchise.

Career statistics

Career Statistics[11]

Career totals Per-game averages Playoffs totals Playoff averages
  • Games Played: 685
  • Points: 11,038
  • Rebounds: 2,069
  • Assists: 2,628
  • Steals: 608
  • Points: 16.1
  • Rebounds: 3.0
  • Assists: 3.8
  • Steals: 1.0
  • Games Played: 41
  • Points: 644
  • Rebounds: 124
  • Assists: 187
  • Steals: 32
  • Points: 15.7
  • Rebounds: 3.0
  • Assists: 4.6
  • Steals: 0.8



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