Ann Meyers Drysdale and Paul Westphal Lead Class of 2021

The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame is made up of some of the finest and most storied athletes to have ever played, coached, reported on, or represented the Valley on the hardwood, diamond, gridiron, golf course, tennis courts and beyond.

Last night, Ann Meyers Drysdale and Paul Westphal were honored for their contributions to the Valley, the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury and for their everlasting impact on the game of basketball and state of Arizona.

Ann and Paul represent the very best qualities of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, and were appropriately welcomed into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame by fellow inductee Charles Barkley and JoAnn Fitzsimmons, wife to late Suns coach and Hall of Famer Cotton Fitzsimmons.

Barkley and Cotton were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015 for their accomplishments with the Phoenix Suns.

Ann Meyers Drysdale

All Meyers Drysdale wanted to do was play basketball, but in the process she broke barriers, fought for equality and changed the game forever.

She became the first woman to receive a four-year athletic scholarship to any university, joining the UCLA Bruins in 1974. She blazed a collegiate career filled with honors and firsts including first four-time All-American women’s basketball player while leading the Bruins to an AIAW national championship; first player, male or female, to record a quadruple-double in NCAA history; the 1978 Honda Sports Award for most outstanding women’s college basketball player; and the 1978 Broderick Cup as the most outstanding woman athlete.

After college she became the first woman to earn a tryout with an NBA team, eventually signing with the Indiana Pacers. She added three gold and three silver medals for her part in the 1975 and 1979 Pan Am Games, the 1976 Olympics, the 1977 World University Games, and the 1979 FIBA World Championships. In 2007 she was part of the inaugural FIBA Hall of Fame class with Bill Russell and Dean Smith.

Ann went on to become one of the first female color analysts in the NBA and to this day calls Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury games. She has also served as an analyst for NBC Sports covering the past three Summer Olympics.

Ann has consistently inspired others to battle through adversity and believes that anything is possible.

Paul Westphal

Westphal left an indelible mark on the Phoenix Suns franchise with his All-NBA talent, his brilliant mind and his elite character. From guiding the team on the court in the 1976 NBA Finals to leading from the sidelines in the 1993 NBA Finals, Westphal’s legacy in Phoenix crossed 14 years and his overall impact on the organization is virtually unmatched.

The eventual Basketball Hall of Famer known as “Westy” was acquired by the Suns in a trade with the Boston Celtics in 1975 and spent the next five years in Phoenix where he accrued multiple All-Star and All-NBA first-team honors while with Phoenix. Westphal ultimately found his way back to The Valley following retirement on the Suns’ coaching staff in 1988 and eventually succeeding Suns legendary coach Cotton Fitzsimmons. Due to his astounding career and impact across the NBA, Westphal was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 6, 2019.

Westphal left an everlasting legacy on the Suns franchise and the city of Phoenix, and while his greatest accomplishments may have come in the Valley of the Sun, his ultimate impact stretches far and wide across the sport of basketball.


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