Suns legend Paul Westphal inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
Phoenix Suns legend Paul Westphal was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night.
Westphal joined Jack Sikma, Vlade Divac, Sidney Moncrief, Bobby Jones, Al Attles, Teresa Weatherspoon, Chuck Cooper, Carl Braun and Bill Fitch in the 2019 class.
He was introduced by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Charles Barkley.
“And Charles Barkley … Chuck … this award is for my playing career and you played absolutely no role whatsoever in that,” Westphal joked to Barkley, whom he coached in Phoenix.
Westphal’s speech thanked plenty of people in his life, including fellow Suns Ring of Honor member Alvan Adams.
“Without him, there’s no way I’m here tonight,” Westphal said. “He was the perfect player for me to play with with the Suns.”
The 68-year-old Ring of Honor member Westphal is a five-time All-Star and played the best basketball of his career in Phoenix, averaging 20 points per game in all five of his seasons with the Suns from 1976-80.
In three of those five seasons, Westphal made First Team All-NBA and was also Second Team All-NBA for the 1977-78 season.
Westphal only missed four games over his first run with the Suns over the five seasons and would return to the Valley in the 1983-84 season for his final year in the league.
Being inducted as a player, Westphal was also a head coach in the league, beginning with the Suns during one of the franchise’s greatest runs.
The Suns won 62 games under Westphal in his first year, losing in the NBA Finals. Phoenix had 115 regular season victories combined over the next two seasons, but a 14-19 start in the 1995-96 season resulted in Westphal being fired.
He also had stints coaching the Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings.
Before starting his NBA coaching career as an assistant under Cotton Fitzsimmons with the Suns in 1988, Westphal guided Grand Canyon for two seasons, culminating in an NAIA National Championship in his second year with the Antelopes.
Westphal was inducted into the Suns’ Ring of Honor in 1998 and is also a member of the USC Hall of Fame and Pac-12 Hall of Honor.