Hall of Famer Paul Westphal has been diagnosed with brain cancer, his close friend Mike Lupica tweeted Sunday with the permission of the former Phoenix Suns player and coach.
“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 tweeted.
“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.”
The Suns released a statement Sunday afternoon on Westphal’s diagnosis:
“The Phoenix Suns organizations share their unwavering support for Paul Westphal and his family during this challenging time. 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, led Phoenix to the 1976 NBA Finals and coached the Suns to the 1993 NBA Finals. A five-time All-Star, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.
Westphal averaged 20.6 points in six seasons with the Suns. He coached Phoenix to a 191-88 record during the 1992-96 seasons.