By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Former NBA player, coach, and commentator Paul Westphal has died at the age of 70 after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
Throughout his career, he also played for the Seattle SuperSonics and the New York Knicks. Westphal was named an All-Star five times and earned three All-NBA First Team and one Second Team honors.
After his playing career, Westphal coached in college basketball as well as in the NBA. He was the head coach of the Phoenix Suns, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Sacramento Kings. He led the Suns to the NBA Finals in 1993.
In 2019, Westphal was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Per the Phoenix Suns:
“There may be just a handful of people who have as much influence and significance on the history of the Phoenix Suns,” Jerry Colangelo said. “All he accomplished as a player and as a coach. Off the court, he was a gentleman, a family man, great moral character. He represented the Suns the way you want every player to represent your franchise.”
Known for his high basketball IQ, Westphal was instrumental in leading the Suns to their first NBA Finals appearance in 1976 against the Celtics. This series featured “The Greatest Game Ever Played” — a triple-overtime thriller during which Westphal’s quick thinking helped put the Suns in position to extend the game behind Garfield Heard’s famous “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”
“He was cerebral in his game,” Colangelo said. “He was always thinking one step ahead. Even the infamous triple-overtime game in Boston during the Final series, when he was the one who said, ‘Call the timeout.’ — which forced a free throw, but gave us the ball at halfcourt and set up the opportunity to tie the game, which we did. That’s thinking right on the spot at the moment.”