Paul Westphal, member of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, dies at age 70

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Paul Westphal, a Hall of Fame guard who was once a five-time All-Star and a three-time All-NBA first-team variety, has died at the age of 70, the Phoenix Suns introduced Saturday.

Westphal were identified with mind most cancers in August 2020.

He grew up in Southern California and performed faculty basketball at USC ahead of being decided on 10th total by means of the Boston Celtics within the 1972 draft.

Westphal received an NBA identify with the Celtics in 1974 in his 2d season, enjoying a key function off the bench. But his occupation actually took off when he was once traded to Phoenix, the place his scoring reasonable greater than doubled — to 20.Five in step with sport — as he helped lead the Suns to their first NBA Finals look in 1976.

“Westy will ceaselessly be remembered as a outstanding Valley sports activities legend each off and on the court docket,” Suns managing spouse Robert Sarver mentioned in a remark Saturday. “He constructed an illustrious occupation as each a participant and a trainer. His legacy ranks a few of the maximum quintessential basketball icons of all time.

“Throughout the previous 40 years, Westy has remained an ideal buddy of the group and as a relied on sounding board and confidant for me. His No. 44 will ceaselessly cling its position in our Ring of Honor, enshrined as one of the maximum deserving contributors.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver praised Westphal as “one of the nice all-around avid gamers of his generation.”

“He will probably be remembered for his generosity, management and love for the sport, which outlined his a few years within the NBA,” Silver mentioned in a remark. “We lengthen our private condolences to Paul’s spouse, Cindy, and their circle of relatives.”

In Game 5 of the 1976 Finals, Westphal made a number of key performs to push the sport — incessantly referred to as the best in playoff historical past — to triple additional time. Though the Celtics prevailed within the sport and the sequence, Westphal had introduced his arrival as one of the NBA’s best possible guards.

“He was once cerebral in his sport,” Jerry Colangelo mentioned in a remark Saturday. “He was once at all times considering one step forward. Even the notorious triple-overtime sport in Boston all the way through the Finals sequence, when he was once the person who mentioned ‘Call the timeout’ — which compelled a unfastened throw however gave us the ball at halfcourt and arrange the chance to tie the sport, which we did. That’s considering proper at the spot at the instant.”

After 5 directly All-Star seasons, Westphal was once hit with accidents that restricted his enjoying time till 1982-83, when he earned Comeback Player of the Year honors with the New York Knicks. He returned the following season to complete out his enjoying occupation with the Suns ahead of turning to training.

As an NBA trainer, he went 318-279, together with a travel to the 1993 Finals and two convention semifinals with the Suns. Westphal additionally coached the Seattle SuperSonics and Sacramento Kings. He closing labored within the NBA as an assistant trainer for the Brooklyn Nets from 2014 to 2016.

“Along with the a lot of accolades and achievements he earned at the court docket, he was once a real gentleman who handled everybody he encountered with exceptional kindness, humility and candor, making an indelible have an effect on on such a lot of throughout our recreation,” the Kings mentioned in a remark.

At the school stage, Westphal coached at Southwestern Baptist Bible College (now Arizona Christian University), Grand Canyon and Pepperdine.

He was once inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in September 2019. His No. 44 is retired by means of the Suns, as is his No. 25 by means of USC.

“There is also only a handful of individuals who have as a lot affect and importance at the historical past of the Phoenix Suns,” Colangelo mentioned. “All he achieved as a participant and as a trainer. Off the court docket, he was once a gentleman, a circle of relatives guy, nice ethical persona. He represented the Suns the way in which you wish to have each and every participant to constitute your franchise.”

The Associated Press contributed to this record.

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