PHOENIX — Phoenix Suns Hall of Famer Paul Westphal has died at the age of 70, according to reports.
"Westphal left an indelible signature on the Phoenix Suns franchise with his All-NBA talent, his brilliant mind and his elite character," a message on the NBA website reads. "From guiding the team on the court in the 1976 NBA Finals to leading them from the sidelines in the 1993 NBA Finals, Westphal’s legacy in Phoenix crossed decades and his overall impact on the organization is virtually unmatched."
My dear friend, NBA Hall of Famer Paul Westphal, passed away today. He was 70, and had been diagnosed with brain cancer last year. He was a splendid husband, father, grandfather, player, coach, friend, and man of faith. God now receives into His arms a most honored guest.— Mike Lupica (@MikeLupica) January 2, 2021
Westphal joined the NBA in 1972 playing with the Boston Celtics and then joined the Suns in 1975, earning himself a spot in the All-NBA First Team three times as a player in Phoenix.
Westphal later became the head coach of the Suns and amassed a 191- 88 record during his career, leading them to the NBA Finals during the 1992-1993 season.
"I did spend yesterday in his presence, although he was not aware, he was that far gone. And so it's a real memory for me to know that I've known Paul Westphal for 47 years. So much of our lives have not only crossed, but we've shared together him as a player, as an assistant coach, as a head coach, as a friend. So I take this very deeply," said former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo.
"I think about him as the person he was. He was a great father, husband, family man, a terrific individual who cared about people, as bright as they came," said Colangelo. "Part of the culmination was him being elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019. And that was a pure tribute to Paul Westphal, in so many ways. So he lived a very full life."
"He was a terrific player, without question. Probably had as much impact as any player who's ever played for the Suns. In his day, for a four- or five-year stretch, he was as good as any player in the league," added Colangelo. "He had incredible skill. He was a leader. He was a thinking man's player, and he became a player's coach when he did his coaching in Phoenix."
Following the news of his passing, teams reacted to the sad news via Twitter.
Westy will not be immortalized for just playing basketball. He will be remembered for how he lived his life, and how he treated others.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 2, 2021
Rest In Peace, Westy 🙏