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Paul Westphal, NBA player and coach, dies at 70


NBA player and coach Paul Westphal died on Saturday in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to the University of Southern California. He was 70 years old.

Westphal died after a battle with brain cancer, according to USC, where he played from 1969 to 1972. He’s survived by his wife Cindy, two children and grandchildren.

In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Westphal “one of the great all around players of his era.”

Westphal was drafted by the Boston Celtics as the 10th pick of the 1972 NBA draft, according to USC. He won an NBA title with the Celtics in 1974.

Over the course of his 12-year career in the NBA, he also played for the Phoenix Suns, the Seattle SuperSonics and the New York Knicks. In each of his five years with the Suns, Westphal averaged at least 20 points per game. He was named to five consecutive All-Star teams between the 1976-77 and 1980-81 seasons.

After his playing career, Westphal entered coaching, beginning at several small colleges. His 1988 Grand Canyon College team won the NAIA national championship. He then moved to the NBA as an assistant coach with the Suns.

He spent 10 seasons as a head coach for three different NBA teams, including the Suns — which he coached to the NBA finals in 1993 — the SuperSonics and the Sacramento Kings.

Westphal was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

“His toughness, skill and intellect made him a key contributor on the Boston Celtics’ 1974 championship team and a perennial All-Star with the Phoenix Suns,” Silver said.

“He will be remembered for his generosity, leadership and love for the game, which defined his many years in the NBA,” Silver added. “We extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s wife, Cindy, and their family.”

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