The Charlotte Hornets announced Wednesday that Coach Steve Clifford is stepping away from the team “for the immediate future to address his health.” The team did not specify the issue Clifford is dealing with and said there is no timetable for his return. Associate head coach Stephen Silas will coach the team in Clifford’s absence.
The Hornets are 9-13 this season, Clifford’s fifth with the franchise. He missed Monday night’s game against the Magic because of illness, with Silas telling reporters that Clifford fell ill around 9 a.m. the day of the game. According to USA Today, the 56-year-old Clifford had to step away from the team for a few days in November 2013 to have two stents placed in his heart after experiencing chest pains.
Well-wishers abounded on Twitter.
I met Coach Clifford randomly on a plane once, was a row behind him and he still turned around and chatted about the NBA for 15 minutes with me and I'm a nobody. He didn't have to do that and it meant a lot. Helluva great guy.
— Ethan CP (@RaddyLite) December 6, 2017
Hoping Steve gets well soon.
Say what you will about the team, but he’s been a good ambassador and is a cultural fit in Charlotte.. https://t.co/O2mEg9eUsU
— Darin Gantt (@daringantt) December 6, 2017
Sending good thoughts to one of the league’s very best human beings https://t.co/bo6yj1qTi9
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) December 6, 2017
Good thoughts to Steve Clifford, a delightful guy, an absolute grinder, and a coach always willing to talk the nitty-gritty stuff.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) December 6, 2017
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