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FanSided: Chris Silva has work to do

By David Ramil

A lifetime of relentless work has carried Chris Silva from Gabon, to South Carolina, to his new NBA home with the Miami Heat.

There are long days that separate the few minutes when Chris Silva is free to let loose, to dive to the floor or elbow his way past an opponent for a rebound. During the quiet in between, he calmly looks out the hurricane-proof glass of his hotel room, over swaying palms, and waters gentle and coarse, imagining what might be on the other side.

Silva is an undrafted rookie and spent his first few months in the NBA on a two-way contract with the Miami Heat. He never traveled to Sioux Falls, where the Heat’s G-League affiliate is based because it is cold and lonely and basketball can be your only focus. But the team arranges for the room and when they travel and Silva is with them, he packs away what few belongings he keeps with him and puts them in storage, then undoes the process upon his return.

It’s a little inconvenient to be uprooted, Silva acknowledges, but he’s grateful for the opportunity it has come to symbolize. The hotel also has some advantages. There’s a restaurant downstairs and a few others around the corner. It’s just blocks away from the AmericanAirlines Arena so it’s easy to walk — headphones on, shoulders hunched — unrecognized to work. Best of all, there’s that window, the one with views beyond the palms and Biscayne Bay and the waters that become the Atlantic Ocean, connecting Miami to the powdery beaches of Gabon.

A connection to home.

Eight years ago, Silva boarded the first plane of his life on a flight from Gabon to Addis Adiba, then another to Rome, a third to Dallas, before finally arriving in Washington, D.C., confused and lost and without much knowledge of English beyond four words. An assistant coach, Tommy Sacks, with ties to Gabon had arranged for Silva to begin his American basketball journey at Roselle High School, a Catholic private school in New Jersey. He had never met Silva, didn’t know what to expect when he asked the gangly 6-foot-5 teenager what he wanted to do after spending over a day flying across time zones and those same Atlantic waters. Silva used up his English vocabulary in one shot. “I told him ‘Coach, I go NBA,’” says Silva now with a laugh.

The English has improved considerably, and Silva nestles easily into a leathery booth in that restaurant downstairs, some 6,000-plus miles from his hometown of Libreville. The hotel is awash in an edgy, sexy kitsch. A portrait of a woman’s mouth chewing on a heart-shaped lollipop hangs nearby. A metal sculpture of…something glistens in the corner. In the background, a fusion jazz trio rehearses before the evening crowd arrives to pay too much for the sea bass and questionable ambiance. A gym bag sits to Silva’s right, a paper bag with takeout lunch to his left.

The Heat had the day off but Silva put in some work anyway because it won’t count toward the 45 days his contract allowed him to spend at practice or in games. A teammate who drives recommended a Tex-Mex place in nearby Wynwood, where artists and aficionados from around the world had flocked for the art fair known as Art Basel (pronounced “Baah-sel”). Perhaps they can afford the sea bass but Silva was just there for the burritos.

He has adjusted to this new life in the United States and appreciates the food growing cold by his side. “But I miss my grandma’s home cooking. A lot.” He talks about the freshness of it, how he considers that Gabon has the best pizza in the world. He can’t explain why it was so good, but nostalgia might be the best ingredient of all.

His earliest basketball memories are of chasing after his father, Jose, a player with the Gabonese men’s national team who also played professionally for a number of international leagues. “I have pictures in my head of me saying, ‘I wanna watch you play basketball,’” as he’d walk into packed arenas buzzing with excitement. Young Chris would watch Jose intently, on the court as well as off, a celebrity who knew everyone, playing a sport that seemed to have a huge following in Gabon.

As he grew, Chris and Jose spent less and less time together but basketball had already taken hold. In Gabonese schools, teachers who taught “sports classes” would also teach at local clubs, and Silva earned academic points for his participation. He started playing for the pure enjoyment of it, practicing in gyms that became emptier and emptier almost in direct contrast to Silva’s love of the sport. He made new friends that had a passing interest in basketball but developing as a player was impossible as that interest waned. “Basketball just died in my country,” Silva says.

Undeterred, he took the game more seriously than ever before, almost single-handedly trying to bring it back to life. He played on one, two, three clubs, playing against competition that was inferior, even as Silva himself was raw and unskilled. But he was tall, athletic, and determined, and drew the attention of a coach on the Gabonese national team. It was a step but not enough. “In my spirit,” he says, “I wanted to go the NBA.”

A scout and coach with the national team, Joe Touomou, saw promise in Silva. Touomou had played in the United States for Georgetown University, and still had contacts with American coaches. He reached out to Sacks, sending grainy video of a lanky 14-year-old that played with passion and promise, if not much skill. Sacks took a chance and told Touomou that there was a spot in Roselle for Silva if he wanted it. “My coach asked me if I wanted to play in the United States,” says Silva. Even years later, he’s unable to repress a wide grin and turns his long hands over, palms upward in a plea — are you kidding me? — that has already been heard. “‘Man, that’s every kid’s dream! Let’s do it!’” he told Touomou.

Despite Jose’s long affiliation with the sport, he was hesitant to let his son travel overseas by himself and likely fall short of his goal. Carine Obame, Chris’ mother, shared her former husband’s reluctance. Chris was disappointed, heartbroken by the lack of support. But he was more determined than ever, going as far as to fill out whatever paperwork was needed to procure a passport and visa, a teenager cutting through red tape with scissors made of nothing but hope. “Something was driving me,” he says, gathering what belongings fit into a single bag as he prepared to leave home, unsure if he’d ever return. He boarded the first of four planes and embarked on a new life in the United States.

Roselle was cold and unusual, Silva recalls. Technically a sophomore when he enrolled in the school, he was hosted by one family for a year, spent the next with yet a different host, then spent his senior year with a teammate and his family. Silva struggled to fit in. In Libreville, he spoke French as well as a Portuguese-based Creole, neither of which were common among a mostly-white student body of about 300 students. He took multiple courses in French and learned how to translate his native tongue into English.

But when it came to learning from his coaches, he relied mostly on sight, reading lips to understand what words they might be using. “I had no choice, man,” he says today. “You get one or two words and try to figure out the sentence. [I’d] go to work out, and my coaches would say, ‘Take one, two dribbles and shoot.’ and I didn’t know what they meant at first. But from the motion, I would understand what they were saying.” He’d string words together, recognize them the next time they were used, and eventually started to form complete sentences. Within three months, he understood English well enough but it would take him years before he was comfortable speaking it.

He was a good high school player, frenetic and tireless. He lacked fundamentals and the experience; didn’t have a support system intent on him reaching the league. Still, he outworked even the best players in the nation, top recruits like Karl-Anthony Towns, and was productive despite skills that were as limited as his grasp on English. When scholarship offers from top schools began reaching him at Roselle, Sacks advised him to consider an easier route.

“‘You wanna go to the NBA? The plan is to go to a low major. Ball out. Hope for an NBA scout to see you instead of going to a school with a lot of good players and struggling.’” Prudent advice, maybe, but not exactly encouraging. The words still sting years later, even if they just add fuel to Silva’s inexhaustible competitive fires. “I was like, ‘Man, you think I can’t do it?’”

One offer came from the University of South Carolina. The Gamecocks head coach, Frank Martin, had a longstanding relationship with Sacks, who continued to laud Silva to schools around the country. “He was so raw, so brand new to basketball,” says Martin. Silva had good hands and was athletic, and he was competitive and didn’t shy away from physicality. “More importantly, Tommy just raved about Chris’ character.” Martin’s deep bass reaches reverential levels when discussing character, views it as the greatest quality of any recruit he’s considering. He doesn’t dismiss talent outright. “But work ethic and character, that’s what allows players — and people in general — to succeed. That’s just life.”

The appreciation was mutual. “Coach Frank said, ‘If you come to my school, I’m going to make you work every day,’ and I thought if I go to a coach like that, there’s no way I can’t succeed.” He committed immediately.

South Carolina was a more comfortable upgrade for Silva, hot and humid with the occasional palm trying to escape the mossy embrace of a weeping willow. The warmth did not extend to the basketball court, however, where Silva’s athleticism couldn’t make up for a glaring lack of experience and skill. “Every day of my freshman year was terrible,” Silva recalls. Martin’s legendarily intense practices were an extreme that even the hard-working Silva wasn’t prepared for. Mistakes were frequent and resulted in running and working to the point of exhaustion for hours at a time. “I was going crazy,” he says, casting his eyes downward. “I would go to my dorm and think, ‘Do I even wanna keep playing basketball?’”

But the goal of the NBA was closer than ever and so Silva recommitted himself, getting lost in the work. He added pounds of muscle to his now 6-foot-8 frame, becoming a fixture in the Gamecocks weight room. Just as he had fought through adversity in Gabon and then at Roselle, he would learn how to navigate through Martin’s constant demands.

“I was hard on him,” Martin admits, remembering a time when his wife even pointed out that he might have been gone too far during one particular game. Martin realized she might have been right, and called Silva into his office during the team’s next practice, ready to apologize. “I said, ‘Chris, I can’t expect you to be successful with me criticizing you like this.’ He just got this confused look on his face. I wondered if he was okay, if maybe I had gone too far but then he says, ‘Coach, I didn’t come here for you to be nice to me. I want you to push me like that.’ I was just blown away. I wasn’t used to players like that. But that’s just who he is. He didn’t want the easy stuff. He wanted the challenge. He wanted more.”

Silva would improve during each of his four years in South Carolina, earning All-SEC honors for two years and was selected as the conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was the one that opposing coaches would dread knowing their team’s chances of winning would become that much less likely. Opposing players would roll their eyes in frustration — Man, we gotta play him? —  knowing they were going to be outworked, that there would undoubtedly be bruises the following day.

And none of it mattered as he watched the 2019 NBA Draft and never heard his name called.

“I was disappointed that NBA people didn’t believe he could succeed at that level,” said Martin as he rattled off Silva’s accomplishments at South Carolina. “He never caved because of adversity. He grew because of it. I told everyone that called me [before the draft], ‘If you let him in, you won’t let him out.’ And that’s exactly what’s happening.”

The Miami Heat aren’t exactly a pipeline for Martin’s top players but there’s a shared ideology that breeds familiarity. Udonis Haslem, the leading rebounder in franchise history, played for “Coach Frank” at Miami Senior High School. Miami selected Michael Beasley in the 2008 draft after playing for Martin at Kansas State, as did Rodney McGruder, who spent three seasons with the Heat and is now with the Clippers. “We have tremendous respect for players that go through [Martin’s] program,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told The Step Back, “because they don’t skip any steps. They have to be about the same things as we are to be able to make it through there. They wind up becoming the best version of themselves as a result.”

The Heat brought in Silva to work with their Summer League team in July, then signed him to a two-way contract before the start of the 2019-20 regular season. While most two-way players spend time jetting between the NBA club and their G-League affiliate, Silva was a rare exception.

Silva is 23 now and still raw as he adjusts to another level. He doesn’t show off much on offense, not because he can’t but because he understands his role on a team loaded with perimeter shooters. Instead, he just continues to work, providing that constant energy and physicality, chasing after rebounds and finishing at the rim over players with more experience. He took one bag and one goal with him when he left Gabon — to go the NBA — and he’s achieved it.

Spoelstra acknowledges that Silva needs time to fully adjust but shows no concern that it won’t happen, even comparing him to center Bam Adebayo, who became an All-Star in his third season. He raves, as Martin did, about Silva’s work ethic and character. “Chris will continue to evolve because of his commitment. That’s what is going to drive him and make him who he wants to be in this league,” says Spoelstra excitedly, “I don’t think he’ll ever change.”

View the full story on FanSided.

An NBA Contract…Christmas Surprise…and Rumble in Vegas – IPZ’s Latest Newsletter

Miami Heat Signs Chris Silva To Three-Year Contract

Chris Silva signed a three-year contract with the Miami Heat. The forward began the 2019-2020 NBA season on a two-way deal with the Heat and has proven himself to two-time NBA Champion Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, his teammates, and, of course, the Miami fan base. With his #SilvaSlams, rim protection, and hustle, Chris earned the opportunity.

Chris and the Heat take on the San Antonio Spurs in Miami at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 15th for their next matchup.

Alexey Oleynik Set To Take On Next Opponent In UFC 246

On Saturday, January 18th, UFC heavyweight fighter Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik (Alexey Oleynik) will be stepping into the octagon to go up against Maurice Green in UFC Fight Night 246.

The showdown will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas around 10 p.m. ET and can be viewed on ESPN+.

Bumble Taps Lexie Brown As Brand Ambassador

Social network Bumble, best known for its usage as a dating application, launched the “Queen Bee Program” in late 2019 and tapped WNBA player Lexie Brown as a brand ambassador for the rollout. Queen Bee’s focus is building a community founded on women’s empowerment through Bumble events, marketing initiatives and everyday conversations.

As a #BumblePartner, Lexie utilized her Instagram (@lexiebrown4) to reach her 128k followers. Her participation included one static post (pictured above) and two Instagram stories.

Chris Silva Reunites With His Mom After Three Years Apart

It was a Christmas miracle for Miami Heat forward Chris Silva…because he thought he was seeing a ghost.

On December 27, 2019, Chris’ mother, Carine Minkoue Obame, walked into the AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat.

“We have a great surprise for you,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told Chris following a practice. “Merry Christmas, brother.”

“That’s my mum,” Silva said, sobbing after seeing his mother.

It had been three years since Chris last saw her.

He told reporters that he had talked to his mother over the phone on Christmas Day and never imagined that he would see her soon.

“I thought I was seeing a ghost,” Silva said of the reunion.

Watch the heartwarming reunion here.

Oleg Prudius “Smiles” For A Great Photographer

Oleg Prudius, who is currently filming the movie, “Miami Heat,” was the subject of a photo shoot done by renowned photographer James Salzano.

451 Media Group continues to develop Rogan, a mythical God of Gods, a character based on Prudius.

Check out the photos here.

View the full newsletter here.

Miami Herald: Silva’s surprise reunion

Inside the surprise that had Heat’s Chris Silva thinking he was ‘seeing a ghost’

By Anthony Chiang

Basketball worked to separate Chris Silva from his family. Seven years later, basketball helped to reunite Silva and his family.

A native of Gabon, Africa, Silva left his home country in 2012 just days away from turning 16 to come to the United States with a dream of making it to the NBA. Silva, now 23, had seen his parents and three brothers only once since then, and that was when he returned to Gabon for two weeks to renew his visa as a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.

But just hours prior to Friday’s home win over the Pacers, the Heat, the NBA and NBA Africa teamed up to surprise Silva with his mother, Carine Minkoue Obame, following the team’s walkthrough. It marked the first time he had seen his mother in three years.

Silva, who is playing on a two-way contract with the Heat, was caught completely off guard.

“As a matter of fact, I talked to her like two days ago and she was still back home on Christmas,” Silva said in advance of Saturday’s Heat matchup against the 76ers at AmericanAirlines Arena. “We were just talking, catching up and all that. I saw right after the walkthrough, I saw her walking in and I couldn’t believe who it was. I thought I was seeing a ghost. After I realized it was her, I couldn’t help myself. I was emotional.

“This is a great league. For them to do something like that for me means a great deal. It shows the heart of the people running the league and NBA Africa. I just thank them, I’m grateful for them doing this.”

The Heat documented the surprise. The video showed a shocked Silva as his mother walked onto the AmericanAirlines Arena court, with teammates and coaches huddled around him. It unfolded like this:

“The holidays also are really about being around the people you love, and mostly everybody feels very grateful that you’re able to spend that quality time,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said to the team in the video, setting up the surprise for Silva.

“But I always think about Silva,” Spoelstra went on to say. “When was the last time you saw your family?”

“Three years ago,” Silva answered.

“We have a great surprise for you,” Spoelstra said. “Merry Christmas, brother.”

That’s when Silva’s mom walked through the tunnel and onto the court.

“That’s my mom!” Silva said in the video, seemingly in disbelief moments after realizing it was his mother and quickly bursting into tears.

Following Friday’s game, Spoelstra called it “one of the most special moments I’ve been a part of in this profession.”

“This has been in the works for about a month and I was so nervous bringing the group together,” Spoelstra said. “… To be a part of it as an organization, to be able to make this happen with the NBA and to be able to experience and have Chris experience this moment, it was really incredible. And hearing the gasps and the responses from his teammates is something I’ll keep with me for a long time.”

Heat wing Jimmy Butler said of Silva’s moment: “That’s love right there. Family is everything and that will always be bigger than basketball. For his mom to be here is special. He has been away from her for so long and he’s working incredibly hard. … I hope that they stay up all night and talk about what they missed over these past three years.”

When Silva first arrived to the United States from Gabon in 2012, he didn’t speak English and had never been on an airplane before the long trip. Once Silva made it to the United States, he attended and played basketball at Roselle Catholic High in New Jersey before playing four college seasons at South Carolina.

At first, the transition to the United States was a tough one.

“Coming here and not knowing anybody, speaking no English, it was a challenge at first,” said Silva, who did not play in Friday’s win. “Basketball just helped me get through all of this, get away from those sad moments. It definitely helped me get through all of this. Basketball then made my family come here, I’m just grateful for this game.”

Spoelstra remembers when Silva revealed his story to the team during training camp in early October. While Spoelstra didn’t know much about Silva’s background before the Heat signed him as an undrafted free agent this past offseason, he learned a lot about Silva in that moment.

“Back in training camp, one of the nights, one of our sessions, some of the young guys told their stories to the team and Chris’ story stood out,” Spoelstra said. “Incredible bravery on his part to be able to come to a new country, didn’t speak the language, didn’t know anybody, to chase a dream. We feel that we’re a place where we can make dreams happen. But I had goosebumps. Everybody has goosebumps when he was telling that story. Then to fast track three months to be able to be a part of something like this is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my career.”

Silva entered Saturday averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 9.5 minutes in 25 games with the Heat this season. With two-way contract players allowed to spend up to 45 days in the NBA during the G League season and the rest of the time with their team’s G League affiliate, Silva has yet to be sent down to the developmental league.

The Heat will have enough room under the hard cap to convert Silva’s two-way contract to a standard NBA contract starting Jan. 14, and Silva has enough two-way days available to play in every one of Miami’s games before then. The Heat has an open roster spot with just 14 players currently under standard deals.

If Silva has his two-way deal converted to a standard NBA contract, that will be another memorable day. But Friday stands alone.

“Today has been crazy,” Silva said. “From seeing my mom and catching a good win, all that, it’s crazy. I’m shook.”

Silva will have his mother with him for the next 10 days. And he can’t wait to spend time with her.

“I don’t know much about Miami, but I’m going to find out about Miami,” Silva said. “I’m going to try to take her out to dinner to some nice places and spend a lot of time with her.”

View the full story on Miami Herald.

Miami Herald: Family is Heat Rookie Chris Silva’s Motivation

Heat rookie Chris Silva’s motivation? Family and the dream to one day be reunited.

By Anthony Chiang

Running can be symbolic of so many things.

For Heat forward Chris Silva, running is symbolic of his unique journey and hope to one day be reunited with his family.

The undrafted rookie describes himself as more of the long-distance type who is known for his two-mile runs following basketball workouts. Silva prefers to run on a track or any circular path.

That’s where the symbolism comes in.

“It just unblocks my head. All I think about is making it,” Silva said of running. “There’s something about it. I like to do a circle because when I get tired in a circle, I know I can’t stop here. I have to finish to get back to the house.”

Playing under a two-way contract with the Heat, Silva (6-8, 234 pounds) is currently on his own circular path trying to make it back home to his family. He’s averaging 4.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18 games in his first NBA season.

A native of Gabon, Africa, Silva left his home country in 2012 just days away from turning 16 to come to the United States with a dream of making it to the NBA. He has seen his parents and siblings only once since then, and that was when he returned to Gabon for two weeks to renew his visa as a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.

“Two weeks felt like two days, to be honest,” said Silva, 23, of his lone trip back to Africa to visit his mother, father and three brothers. “I don’t think anybody besides my uncle has ever seen me play basketball.”

Silva’s uncle, Miguel, will watch him play again Wednesday when the Heat faces the Celtics at TD Garden. The Heat (14-5) begins a challenging back-to-back set Tuesday against the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena.

Miguel, who is Silva’s legal guardian, lives in Boston and is one of Silva’s only relatives in the United States. The two have been through a lot together.

Miguel stayed up all night to track the four different flights Silva took to first arrive to the United States from Gabon. Silva didn’t speak English and had never been on an airplane before that long trek, with Miguel worried he would get lost along the way.

Once Silva made it to the United States to attend and play basketball at Roselle Catholic High in New Jersey, there were tough times Miguel had to talk Silva through. Silva was homesick almost immediately.

“He felt lonely. He wanted to see his mom, his dad,” Miguel recalls. “But he couldn’t make it. I remember at some point, the high school told me he had been down and they wanted to send him home to see his family. I said, ‘No, I’m going to talk to him because he just got here.’ I didn’t want him to want to go back right away.”

Miguel told Silva: “It’s a struggle, I understand. You feel lonely. I also got to the point after three months that I wanted to go back home, too. You’re going to be fine. You got good people who love you.”

Now, Miguel sends daily updates to their family in Gabon regarding Silva’s accomplishments — from being voted onto the SEC’s All-Defensive team in each of his final two seasons at South Carolina to playing for the Heat as an undrafted rookie.

While attending the Heat’s Oct. 23 season opener against the Grizzlies at AmericanAirlines Arena, Miguel sent a short video to the family of Heat public address announcer Michael Baiamonte introducing Silva when he entered his first regular-season NBA game.

“I have to update the family pretty much every day,” Miguel said. “They try to watch him play online, but the internet is so messed up over there. Now they have WhatsApp, so I can take a picture or record a video and send it to them.”

The time change also makes it difficult for Silva’s family to watch any of his games. A 7:30 p.m. Heat home game begins at 1:30 a.m. in Gabon.

“It’s a luxury to have cable in Gabon, especially to have those channels for those games,” Miguel said.

Silva has grown accustomed to going through life on his own, though. It has been seven years since he arrived in the United States.

“After spending all these years doing it by myself, I kind of got a hang of it,” Silva said. “But it would be nice. I don’t want to say being away from them is difficult, but it would be nice once something is hard or I have a good game to go home and see my mom. Talk to somebody in the family.”

View the full story on Miami Herald.

Miami Herald: Heat converts forward Chris Silva to two-way deal. Here’s why he has drawn Haslem comparisons

By David Wilson and Anthony Chiang

Chris Silva’s impressive preseason has earned him one of the Heat’s two available two-way contracts.

The Heat awarded the forward with a two-way contract following its preseason finale Friday in Miami, a league source confirmed. Silva played 12 minutes, scored three points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out an assist in the 144-133 loss to the Rockets at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Associated Press first reported the news on Silva, who went undrafted out of South Carolina this year.

Two-way contracts allow a player to spend up to 45 days with an NBA team during the G League season and the rest of the time must be spent with the team’s developmental affiliate, and the contract prevents the player from being signed by another NBA team. Silva is expected to spend most of the season with the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Silva, 23, finished the preseason averaging 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 9.8 minutes per game. He played in each of the Heat’s five tune-ups, and his best performance came in the preseason opener with 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

Silva has drawn comparisons to Heat veteran forward Udonis Haslem because of play style and the fact they both played for Frank Martin, who coached Silva with the Gamecocks and Haslem at Miami High.

“In terms of the ferocity, the competitiveness, the aggressiveness on the glass … yeah, you can make those comparisons,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier this week. “I mentioned that to Chris in one of our film sessions that just the way he approaches the game every single day with that competitive edginess to him is similar to the guy who’s going to have his number retired here.

“That’s a perfect example of somebody who may have had to do it in a different way, not getting drafted and having to play overseas. But he fought and scratched and crawled his way back to be in this league, and he was not going to take no for an answer. Just from the little bit I’ve gotten to know Chris, I think he’s going to be similar. He’s going to make you have to make decisions. That’s what you want from young players.”

Silva said earlier this week of the Haslem comparisons: : “I get it so much. It’s crazy. I mean, I respect it because UD is my guy. He’s a vet and look at what he has done for this organization. There’s a lot of respect. His mentality is rock solid, so I try to learn a lot from him during practice and during training camp. He has just taught me so much. His leadership has been big time during this process.”

Silva is from Gabon in Central Africa and began living in the United States as a 16-year-old.

Silva is known for his defense, as he was the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2017-18 and was voted onto the SEC’s All-Defensive team in each of his final two seasons at South Carolina. He finished his South Carolina career with 1,509 career points, which ranks 10th in program history, and also ranks sixth in rebounds (876), third in free throws made (577) and sixth in blocked shots (186).

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound athlete was one of six Heat players on an Exhibit 10 deal vying for a two-way contract, along with guards Daryl Macon, Bubu Palo, Davon Reed and Skyler Flatten, and forward Kyle Alexander.

The Heat currently has 20 players on its roster, but there will be cuts made soon. NBA teams have to trim their rosters down to 15 players (not counting the two two-way contract players) by Monday, which means making final decisions Saturday because of the 48-hour waiver period.

For the Heat, the only decision left is who will fill its one remaining two-way contract spot.

Miami is locked into 14 players on the regular-season roster to remain beneath the luxury-tax threshold, but it can hand out one more two-way contract. The Heat can either convert another one of its Exhibit 10 players to a two-way deal Saturday instead of waiving them, or waive each of the five remaining Exhibit 10 players on its roster and leave its other two-way slot open until another player it prefers becomes available.

The list of former Heat two-way contract players includes Matt Williams Jr., Derrick Walton Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., Yante Maten and Duncan Robinson.

Read the story in the Miami Herald.

Chris Silva Makes Waves in First Miami Heat Preseason Game

By Anthony Chiang

Forward Chris Silva, who is among those competing for a two-way contract from the Heat, impressed in his 14 minutes Tuesday. Undrafted out of South Carolina, Silva finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

“He made us watch him. That’s for sure,” Spoelstra said of Silva. “He’s had those moments in training camp, too. The offensive rebounding, the pursuits. He had a great block tonight. But he probably had five blocks better than that in training camp, where he shocked everybody in the gym. His efforts, his second jumps, his pursuits, all of these things, that’s a talent. That’s a skill to have a motor like that.”

To read the full recap, visit the Miami Herald.