Paul Westphal, a Phoenix Suns legend and basketball Hall of Famer, has been diagnosed with brain cancer, according to sports columnist Mike Lupica. Westphal and Lupica have been longtime friends, and Lupica announced the sad news on his Twitter account, mentioning that doctors diagnosed Westphal with glioblastoma.
"I've been close friends with Paul Westphal ever since his 1972-73 rookie year with the Boston Celtics and had the pleasure of celebrating his wonderful career with him last September when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame," Lupica wrote on Twitter. "With his permission I am letting the basketball world know he has just been diagnosed with brain cancer. Specifically glioblastoma. Please pray for friend, No. 44." When the Suns heard about their former player and head coach, they released a statement.
"The Phoenix Suns organizations share their unwavering support for Paul Westphal and his family during this challenging time," the team said. "We are devastated to hear of his brain cancer diagnosis. Paul has been an iconic cornerstone of the Phoenix Suns franchise for decades, both as an outstanding player and coach. His tenacity on the court and on the bench led the franchise to two NBA Finals appearances and his impact on the Phoenix community extends well beyond the hardwood."
Westphal, 69, started his NBA career in 1972 when he was drafted No. 10 overall by the Boston Celtics. He helped the team win a championship in 1974 but made a name for himself when he joined the Suns in 1975. During his time in Phoenix, Westphal was named to the All-Star team four times and selected to the All-NBA First Team three times. Westphal then played for Seattle Supersonics during the 1980-81 season and then moved on to the New York Knicks from 1981-83. He came back to ht Suns for the 1983-84 season, which is where he would end his career.
Westphal then moved on to coaching and spent three seasons in the college ranks before coming back to the Suns as an assistant coach in 1988. He was named head coach of the Suns in 1992 and led the team to the NBA Finals his first year. He was also the head coach of the Sonics and Sacramento Kings.