Paul Westphal, basketball Hall of Famer, dead at 70

Paul Westphal, a revered Hall of Fame guard and former NBA champion, has died, the Phoenix Suns announced Saturday. He was 70.

Westphal was reportedly diagnosed with brain cancer last summer. Sports columnist Mike Lupica revealed in August that the coach was battling glioblastoma.

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“Westy will forever be remembered as a prominent Valley sports legend both on and off the court,” Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said in a statement. “He built an illustrious career as both a player and a coach. His legacy ranks among the most quintessential basketball icons of all time.

“Throughout the past 40 years, Westy has remained a great friend of the organization and as a trusted sounding board and confidant for me. His number 44 will forever hold its place in our Ring of Honor, enshrined as one of the utmost deserving members.”

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Westphal grew up in Southern California and played college basketball at USC. He was the 10th pick in the 1972 draft by the Boston Celtics, helping the team win the championship in 1973-1974.

He would become a five-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA first-team selection. He played three years with the Celtics, six years with the Suns, one year with the Seattle SuperSonics and two years with the New York Knicks. He retired after the 1983-84 season.

Westphal coached the Suns from 1992 to 1995, the SuperSonics from 1998 to 2000 and the Sacramento Kings from 2009 to 2012. He last was an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets from 2014 to 2016.

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Westphal was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2019.