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Former NBA champion Westphal diagnosed with brain cancer

FILE PHOTO: Sacramento Kings head coach Paul Westphal signals to his players in the first half of their NBA basketball game against Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, February, 15, 2011. REUTERS/Bill Waugh

(Reuters) - The Phoenix Suns announced on Sunday that former player and coach, and basketball Hall of Famer, Paul Westphal has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Westphal, 69, won an NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics before moving to Phoenix in 1975. He averaged 20.6 points in six seasons with the Suns and led them to their first-ever NBA Finals appearance in 1976, losing to the Celtics.

Westphal enjoyed similar success as a head coach, overseeing the Suns’ trip to the NBA Finals in 1993.

“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 Suns said in a statement to the NBA.

“Paul has been an iconic cornerstone of the Suns franchise for decades, both as an outstanding player and coach. His tenacity ... led the franchise to two NBA Finals appearances and his impact on the community extends well beyond the hardwood.”

A five-time All-Star, Westphal was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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