Former NBA star and Hall of Famer Paul Westphal has apparently been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Sports columnist and close Westphal friend Mike Lupica tweeted out Westphal’s diagnosis on Sunday (via ESPN):
“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 wrote of the NBA legend. “With his permission I am letting the basketball world know he has just been diagnosed with brain cancer. Specifically glioblastoma. Please play for friend, No. 44.”
Paul Westphal was drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 1972 NBA Draft. He won the 1974 NBA title with Boston before emerging as a breakout star with the Phoenix Suns.
Westphal became a 20-point scorer in Phoenix, leading the Suns to a Finals berth in 1976 and making five consecutive All-Star teams between 1977 and 1981.
The California native was named to three All-NBA teams, and he also won the the league’s Comeback Player of the Year Award as a member of the New York Knicks in 1983.
Moreover, Westphal’s excellence extended beyond his days as a player.
Westphal spent four years as an assistant coach in Phoenix before taking over for Cotton Fitzsimmons. He promptly led the Suns to the Western Conference title during the 1992-93 season, losing in the NBA Finals at the hands of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Westphal would go on to post two more 50-win seasons with the Arizona-based squad before coaching the Seattle SuperSonics and Sacramento Kings.
Hopefully, Westphal can beat the odds and overcome this illness.