Paul Westphal, a Hall of Fame basketball player who won the championship with the Boston Celtics in 1974 and later coached in the league and in college basketball, has died. He was 70 years old.
He died in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to a statement from the University of Southern California of which Westphal was the star. In August, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
A point guard who participated in five All-Star Games, Westphal played in the NBA from 1972 to 1984. After winning the championship with the Celtics, he reached the final in 1976 with Phoenix. Juice also for Seattle and New York.
he averaged 15.6 points, 4.4 assists and 1.9 rebounds during his career.
At the end of his playing career, Westphal became a coach. He guided the Suns to the NBA Finals in 1993 and was also the coach of Seattle and Sacramento. In college basketball he coached Southwestern Baptist Bible College (now Arizona Christian University), Grand Canyon, and Pepperdine.
“There could be a handful of people who are so influential and important in the history of the Phoenix Suns,” said former team owner Jerry Colangelo. “All he accomplished as a player and coach. Off the court he was a gentleman, a family man, with great morale. He represented the Suns the way you wanted a player to represent the franchise.
Westphal played for USC between 1968 and 1972, and the Trojans honored him with a moment of silence before Saturday’s game. His number 25 jersey is atop the Galen Center.
The Suns retired his jersey with the number 44.
“Over the past 40 years, Westy has remained a great friend to the organization and a trusted consultant and confidant of mine,” said Suns managing partner Robert Sarver. “His number 44 will always have his place in the circle of honor, enshrined as one of its worthy members.”
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.
He is survived by his wife Cindy and two children.