Paul Westphal was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019

By Claudia Harmata
August 10, 2020 04:21 PM
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NBA Hall of Famer Paul Westphal has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

On Sunday, New York Daily News columnist and a longtime friend of Westphal, Mike Lupica, shared the news on Twitter. 

"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."

According to the Mayo Clinic, glioblastoma is "an aggressive type of cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord." The site also notes that it can be "very difficult to treat and a cure is often not possible."

Shortly after the diagnosis was announced, the Phoenix Suns released a statement expressing their "unwavering support" for Westphal, 69, and his family. Westphal had played and coached for the Suns throughout his career in the NBA.

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"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," the statement read. "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."

Paul Westphal
Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty

Westphal began his NBA career in 1972 when he was drafted as the No. 10 overall pick by the Boston Celtics, with whom he secured a NBA title in 1974. He later went on to play for the Suns, Seattle SuperSonics and New York Knicks. Westphal also head coached for SuperSonics, Sacramento Kings and Suns, and recently served as an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets.

The former point guard was also a five-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA first-team honoree. His No. 44 jersey is retired by the Suns.

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2019.