The Career of James Silas


James Edward Silas or popularly known as James Silas, is a retired professional basketball player. He was born in Tallulah, Louisiana, on February 11, 1949. The majority of Silas’ career was spent with the Dallas Chaparrals and San Antonio Spurs of the ABA and NBA. During the peak of his basketball career, Silas was called the “Captain Late” and “The Late Mr. Silas,” which refers to the fact that Silas seemed to play his best during the last part of the games. In this article, we are going to know more about the career of the iconic James Silas.


Silas attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he played basketball for the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. During his senior year, Silas led the team to a 29-1 record, where he managed to average 30.7 points per game. During his college career, Silas was named an NAIA All-American twice.

NFL Career

During the fifth round of the NBA Draft in 1972, Silas was drafted by the Houston Rockets. But, he was before the 1972-73 season began, the Rockets waived him. That is why Dallas Chaparrals coach Babe McCarthy, decided to take a chance on Silas. The Chaparrals signed Silas signed in November 1972. Silas did not disappoint the team and proved his worth, that is why at the end of the season, he became a member of the ABA All-Rookie team.

After the 1972-73 season, The Chaparrals were sold and moved to San Antonio. That is why they became the San Antonio Spurs. In 1975 and 1976, Silas became a member of the ABA All-Star team; he also joined the All-ABA 2nd team in 1975 and the All-ABA 1st team in 1976. Statistically, Silas’s best year has to be 1976; this is the season where he managed to have an average of 23.8 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game; the assists and points per game proved to be the highest in his career.

Silas played with the Spurs for eight seasons, including the first five years of the Spurs in the NBA. The team moved into the league after the completion of the ABA and NBA merger in 1976. After the 1981 season, the Spurs traded Silas to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he played for one season before announcing his retirement.

Throughout his career, Silas showed that he is a fantastic free throw shooter. In six separate seasons, Silas managed to put himself into the top 10 in free throw percentage. He finished his career with a free-throw rate of 85.5%.

When Silas retired on February 28, 1984, his jersey number, #13, became the first number that the San Antonio Spurs retired. James Silas is one of only eight players to have received that honor from the San Antonio Spurs.

Career Statistics of James Silas

Career Total

  • Games played: 685
  • Points: 11,038
  • Rebounds: 2,069
  • Assists: 2,628
  • Steals: 608
  • PER: 17
  • Win Shares: 60.8

Playoffs Total

  • Games Played: 41
  • Points: 644
  • Rebounds: 124
  • Assists: 187
  • Steals: 32

Playoff Averages

  • Points: 15.7
  • Rebounds: 3.0
  • Assists: 4.6
  • Steals: 0.8
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