Paul Westphal has seemingly come full circle.
The well-traveled player and coach has been an
NBA All-Star (five times) and coached the NBA All-
Stars (twice), he has played and coached in the
NBA finals, and he has been an NBA assistant coach and
Now, he’s coaching again – this time with the Brooklyn
Nets and as an assistant coach under Lionel Hollins, who
played against Westphal in the NBA, coached with Westphal
when both were assistants with the Phoenix Suns, and served as
an assistant coach under Westphal when Westphal was the head coach in Phoenix
in the early 1990s.
The news of the 63-year-old Westphal’s return to the NBA (he was last in the
NBA as the head coach with the Sacramento Kings in 2012) was announced on
July 10 on his Facebook page, which is maintained by his wife of more than 40
“TOGETHER AGAIN!!!” were the first words on Westphal’s Facebook page that
day. “What an amazing turn of events the last ten or twelve days have been.
Jason Kidd bolted the Brooklyn Nets basketball organization, Lionel Hollins got
the phone call to take his place, about four days later Paul was awakened at 4:42
in the morning from a text beep. It was Lionel telling him to sit tight while he
first dealt with other business. This morning the phone rang…..an extremely long
conversation ensued. Coach Hollins had put the
wheels in motion that led to Paul’s agent, Steve
Kauffman, working out an assistant coaching
contract with Nets management. All that remains
are the i’s to be dotted and the t’s to be crossed.
“There are no words to describe the honor and
the thrill it is for Paul to now be Coach Hollins’
assistant with this exciting opportunity. He loves
the way Lionel sees the game, and competes. He
respects his basketball mind, the man and leader
he has proven himself to be. Paul is beyond
humbled to have been asked to join the staff,
even got a little misty-eyed from the time he
first learned it would be a possibility. GO NETS
It will be a return to New York for Westphal,
who played for the Knicks from 1981-83.
Westphal, who was featured in Sports Spectrum’s
first issue 30 years ago when the magazine
was called Sports Focus, still has a strong relationship with Christ.
In an interview with Sports Spectrum this past winter, he shared what God had
been teaching him recently.
“I guess just to value every day for what it is, and not to take anything for
granted,” he told Sports Spectrum in January. “You know, we’re just passing through
this life, but we’re here for a reason. So, it’s important to not waste time.”
He isn’t wasting any time with his life, foregoing retirement and jumping back
into the NBA to impact lives.
By Brett Honeycutt