Basketball lost a legend on Saturday. The Phoenix Suns confirmed that former player, coach and commentator Paul Westphal has died at the age of 70. In August 2020, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Initially, the news was shared by sports writer and family friend Mike Lupica.
Lupica’s message on Twitter read:
“My dear friend, NBA Hall of Famer Paul Westphal, passed away today. He was 70, and had been diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year. He was a splendid husband, father, grandfather, player, coach, friend, and man of faith. God now receives into His arms a most honored guest.”
Westphal played for the Boston Celtics’ 1974 NBA champions, became a four-time All-Star with the Phoenix Suns and coached them to the playoff final in 1993. He played in the NBA for 12 seasons, also with the Seattle SuperSonics and New York Knicks. He was the head coach for all or part of 10 seasons, with the Suns, Seattle and the Sacramento Kings, and an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets.
He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass, as a player in 2019. He led the Suns to the NBA Finals in 1993, where they lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games. As a head coach, he accumulated a career 318-279 record. His No. 44 had been retired by the Phoenix Suns.
Former Suns general manager and owner Jerry Colangelo said in a statement, “He was cerebral in his game. He was always thinking one step ahead.” Westphal leaves behind a legacy that will forever be revered by the entire league.