Paul Westphal, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, died at the age of 70 – NBA Sports

Hall of Fame guard Paul Westphal, who was elected five times by the All-Star and three times by the All-NBA First Team, died at the age of 70. Phoenix Suns It was announced on Saturday.

Westphal was diagnosed with a brain tumor in August 2020.

He grew up in Southern California and played college basketball. USC Before being ranked 10th overall by Boston Celtics In the 1972 draft.

Westphal won the NBA title at the Celtics in the second season of 1974 and played an important role off the bench. But when he was traded to Phoenix, his career really took off. Phoenix helped lead Sands to the first NBA Finals in 1976, more than doubling the average score (20.5 per game).

“Westy will be forever remembered as a prominent volleyball legend on and off the court,” Sands’ managing partner Robert Server said in a statement Saturday. “He has built a brilliant career as both a player and a coach. His legacy is one of the most typical basketball icons in history.

“For the past 40 years, Westie has been a close friend of the organization, a reliable soundboard and confident in me. His 44th is enshrined as one of the most valuable members of us. Will maintain its position forever in the Ring of Honor. “

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver praised Westphal as “one of the great all-round players of his time.”

“It will be memorable for his generosity, leadership, and love for the game that defined his many years of experience in the NBA,” Silver said in a statement. “I would like to express my deepest condolences to Paul’s wife Cindy and her family.”

In Game 5 of the 1976 final, Westphal made some important plays to push the game. The Celtics won the game and series, but Westphal announced his arrival as one of the NBA’s best guards.

“He was the brains of his game,” former Sands owner Jerry Colangelo said in a statement on Saturday. “He was always one step ahead. Even the infamous triple overtime in Boston in the final series forced a free throw, even when he said” call a timeout, “but the ball on the half-court. And set the opportunity to tie the games we went to. I’m thinking about it on the spot at the moment. “

After five consecutive all-star seasons, Westphal was injured and limited his playing time until he won the comeback award between 1982 and 1983. New York Knicks.. He returned to the next season to finish his playing career at Sands before turning to coaching.

As an NBA coach, he went to 318-279, including a trip to the 1993 finals and two conference semifinals with Sands. Westphal with Seattle SuperSonics Sacramento Kings..He last worked as an assistant coach in the NBA Brooklyn Nets From 2014 to 2016.

In a statement, Kings said, “In addition to the many praises and achievements he has earned on the court, he treats everyone he meets with amazing kindness, humility and candidness, and many of our entire sport. He was a true gentleman who had an indelible influence on people. ” ..

At the college level, Westphal coached the Southwestern Baptist Bible College (now Arizona Christian University). Grand Canyon And Pepperdine..

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in September 2019. His 44th was retired by Sands and 25th was retired by USC.

“There may be only a handful of people who have the same influence and importance in the history of the Phoenix Suns,” said Corangelo. “Everything he accomplished as a player and as a coach. Outside the court, he was a gentleman, a family, and a moral character. He made every player represent your franchise. On behalf of Sands. “

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

– NBA Sports

Paul Westphal, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, died at the age of 70 Paul Westphal, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, died at the age of 70

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