Stephen Silas makes emotional return to Rockets sideline after father Paul's death: 'Proud to be my dad's son'

Stephen Silas made an emotional return to the Houston Rockets sideline on Tuesday, two days after the death of his father and longtime NBA head coach Paul Silas.

The Rockets head coach missed Sunday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks that tipped hours after news of his father's death broke. Paul played 16 NBA seasons and won three NBA championships as a player before embarking on a 23-year head coaching career that included 12 seasons as an NBA head coach.

Stephen, 49, was an assistant on his father's staffs with the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers from 2000-05 and then again when Paul returned to Charlotte to coach the Bobcats for the 2011-12 season. He's in his third season leading the Rockets after Houston hired him for his first head-coaching job in 2020.

Stephen spoke fondly of his father prior to tipoff on Tuesday.

"Everything that everybody's had to say about him has just been about him as a person," Silas said after a reporter recounted a story about his dad. ... "I'm very proud to be my dad's son. I'm very proud that people see him in me. And I want that to continue.

"Whenever it is my time comes, I want people to say the same things that they said about him the last couple of days. Hopefully they'll say that about me."

When Stephen took the court during pregame warmups, he was greeted by Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo. Biyombo joined the Bobcats as a rookie and played for Paul during his final season as an NBA coach in 2011-12 while Stephen was on staff. Biyombo and Stephen shared a hug and a moment on Tuesday.

Suns guard Chris Paul also shared a hug with Stephen prior to tip. Stephen's emotions were evident throughout. He wiped away tears during the pregame rendition of the national anthem and player introductions.

The Rockets beat the Suns, 111-97.

zDec 13, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas wipes away a tear as he listens to the Rockets starting lineup introduced before playing against the Phoenix Suns at Toyota Center. Silas was out last game attending his dads funeral. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Silas wipes away a tear as the Rockets starting lineup is introduced on Tuesday. (Thomas Shea/Reuters)