Paul Westphal dies after battling brain cancer
Basketball Hall of Famer Paul Westphal died on Saturday. He was 70 years old.
Westphal had a 12-year playing career in the NBA. After being selected by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 1972 NBA draft, Westphal was traded to the Phoenix Suns after three seasons, where his career took off.
After averaging 7.3 points per game with the Celtics, Westphal averaged 20.5 points per game in his first season with the Suns. He carried on that success throughout his tenure with the Suns, making the All-Star team every season he was with the club. Westphal went to the Seattle Supersonics for the 1980-81 season, where he made his fifth consecutive NBA All-Star team. Westphal played two seasons with the New York Knicks before ending his career with the Suns.
The Suns paid tribute to Westphal on Saturday, saying Westphal will be remembered for both his playing career and the way he treated others.
Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said Westphal “ranks among the most iconic basketball icons of all time.”
Paul Westphal became a successful NBA coach after playing career
After his playing career, Westphal joined the Suns as an assistant coach. He eventually took over as head coach of the Suns. In four seasons, he led the team to a 191-88 record. The team advanced to the NBA Finals in Westphal’s first season as head coach, but lost to the Chicago Bulls in the Finals. Westphal also coached the Seattle Supersonics and the Sacramento Kings.
Westphal was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.
In August, Westphal revealed a brain cancer diagnosis.
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