The Immortalized Spurs

By Fred Silva, Writer for Project Spurs

James Silas #13  1973-1981 

Have you ever looked up into
the rafters and wondered, “Who the heck is that guy?”  Sure,
we are all familiar with Avery, Sean, Gervin, and David, but what about
Moore and Silas?  In this ongoing segment, sit back and relax as
I rewind the clock for you.  I will walk you through the careers
of these Spurs heroes.
 

Let’s begin with James Silas. 
Silas played for Stephen F Austin at a time that it was even less known
nationally than it is today.   He averaged 30ppg and led his
team to an amazing 29-1 record.  But still, this was back in 1971. 
In an article written in 1976,
Dan Pattison remarked,
“No one is sure yet whether that is a college or someone who just
died in the Alamo.”  Silas was drafted by the Houston Rockets
in the 5th round, 70th pick overall.  Houston
ended up cutting Silas days before the first game of the season. 
Silas was upset by this and was quoted saying,
“I felt like they knew they were going to cut me all along. But they
waited until before the first regular season game. By that time, most
of the rosters were stable. They should’ve let me go earlier to get
on with someone else.”  So he hates the Houston Rockets; look
at how much we already have in common with him. 
 

The Dallas Chaparrals took
a chance on Silas and signed him.  The following year in 1973,
the team moved to San Antonio and became your beloved Spurs.  Silas
immediately paid dividends and earned a spot on the All Rookie first
team in 1972.  He would go on to make two All-Star teams in
’75 and ’76.  Sound familiar?  The Spurs were up to their
same tricks back in the early 70’s.  Late draft picks
that end up being All-Stars; looking at you Tony and Manu.  In
Silas’ best statistical season, he led the Spurs in scoring at 23.8ppg
and averaged over 5apg.  Remember, this was a team that featured
a 23 year old named George Gervin.  Leading a team in scoring when
you have one of the most potent scorers in the league on your roster
is no small feat.
 

James Silas made a name for
himself with his late game heroics.  This is why he was called
“The Late Mr. Silas.”  (Not because he died, that threw me
off too.  “The Late Mr. Silas?”  How morbid. 
But while his nickname is terrible if meant as a compliment, can I use
it in a different way?  Sure, why not?  Who is more deserving
than “The Late Mr. Iverson?”  He was essentially a corpse on
the court last season, he killed the Pistons, and obviously, he shows
up late to practice.  That’s right,
“we talkin’ ’bout practice.”  But I digress.)  James
Silas is still doing well today.  He
and George Gervin recently made a cameo
in Will Ferrell’s movie Semi-Pro.  All in all, what’s not to
like?  He was an underdog that made it big, he was drafted 70th
overall and made two All-Star teams, he rocked a sweet fro, he hates
the Rockets, and most importantly, he is a Spurs hero.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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