Sometimes a stat sheet isn’t the most important thing in the NBA. Kevin Durant once said that: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”, and for Xavier Silas that phrase couldn’t ring any truer. Hard work is all he knows about.
It’s never been the smoothest path for Silas in his career, but it wouldn’t be worth it if it was too easy. The Philadelphia 76ers’ 6’5 combo guard from Austin, TX, came out of Northern Illinois University after transferring in from Colorado University his Sophomore season where he barely averaged 10 points per game. After leaving he began to average closer to 20 points per game (Led the nation in scoring his senior year before late shoulder injury), over 40% from the field, 41.3% from 3 point range his senior year while averaging over 80% from the line and doing so in 32 minutes a game.
It didn’t get easier though. Silas went undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft, but immediately was picked up by the 76ers for camp and 2011-2012 NBA preseason. However, the Sixers waived him and he began playing with the Maine Red Claws in the NBA D-League for a short time. But then hope appeared. On April 24, 2012, Silas was signed by the 76ers for the remainder of the season.
In two games at the end of the season Silas averaged 5.5 points per game, 1.5 assists per game, and 2.0 rebounds per game. He also played in two games in the conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics.
Still the mission has not stopped yet. During the NBA Summer League in Orlando, Silas averaged 7.8 points per game, while snagging 3.2 rebounds per game, and shooting an impressive 85% from the line. Although, in the last game against Detroit he suffered a concussion and multiple sinus fractures and ended up having a facial surgery for several hours. Nonetheless, Silas felt keen after the surgery. “Pulling my face off for 2 hours won’t stop me,” Silas tweeted. “I’m building the bridge between my dreams and reality and I’m naming it resilience.”
The one good thing about Silas off the court is that he is more than a professional athlete. Silas has been seen as a people person on social media, and unlike his athletic counterparts, he proclaims that he’s a part of “teamfollowback” on Twitter. Silas has over eighty thousand followers on Twitter but uncommonly, for someone who has a verified account on Twitter, he has less followers than he is following.
Silas might honestly be the most interesting athlete on social media today and that has gained him a lot of friends on and off the court. In a short calendar season, Silas has become one of the most followed athletes in Philadelphia.
I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the Sixers guard Wednesday afternoon and he seemed to be in nothing but high spirits.
Tynes: How are you feeling after the surgery Xavier?
Silas: Strong. I never really lost any strength.
Tynes: How do you think your first season as a Sixer went? Do you think it really showed your capabilities as a player in the NBA?
Silas: How do you think it went (laughter)? It was a great experience; I learned a lot and got better. That’s all anyone can ask for.
Tynes: How do you think your play in the NBA Summer League reflected your potential in this league for years to come?
Silas: You can’t reflect a potential NBA career through 5 games in Orlando. I played solid, I was a solid PG all week, handled pressure, gave pressure (defensively). Definitely did some good things, but I also have areas where I will work exhaustingly to improve. It takes many years to master a skill.
Tynes: Outside of the basketball court there has been a lot of excitement around your name. How has social media helped push your image and connect with your fans?
Silas: I’m not sure how it has pushed my image. But I do know it’s given me a chance to have a relationship with my peers. That word “fans” is so one sided, I’m interested in their growth just as much as they are interested in mine. We are all out here living together
Tynes: Do you get back to all of your followers on Twitter?
Silas: On Twitter if they ask me for a follow I’ll follow them back
Tynes: So can you see yourself staying in Philadelphia for a few or longer after being a big face to your peers of the town?
Silas: I like Philly. I like the passion, I think Philly and I have a few things in common.
Tynes: Going forward what do you think you have to offer to this Philadelphia franchise?
Silas: Hard work. That’s just who I am, everyone who knows me knows that. I feel like it’s the only thing you can guarantee 100%, so I do.
Tynes: What are your goals for this season?
Silas: To continue to get better and learn. While winning as much as possible.
Tynes: Expecting another playoff visit for the 76ers?
Silas: Depends on if it’s earned. Just like everything else.
Tynes: Wrapping up, what can you say to the people who follow you who are concerned about your health after the incident in Orlando?
Silas: It’s really not that bad, a journey isn’t a journey without a journey.
Tynes: Can we still expect to see you in a Sixers jersey next year?
Silas: I can’t tell the future, never have been able to. I don’t think I’d want to be able to either (laughter).
Tynes: What can you say about all the publicity around you being “one of the most interesting athletes in social media?”
Silas: I think it’s cool but at the same time we are all interesting in our own ways. I’ve been telling people that all along.
“I am a simply complex person who will change the world.” Silas says in his Twitter bio. Well if anything my friend you’re slowly changing the complexion of a diverse Philadelphia team and city.If you need a peer follow Xavier Silas on Twitter @XavierSilas and on Instagram at the same name, you’ll be sure to get a follow back from a great guy off the court.
Follow me on Twitter @RealTylerTynes for all Sixers and NBA sports updates. And also follow me on Instagram @TheRealTylerTynes.