Maxwell during the 1985 NBA Finals
November 21, 1955 |
Kinston, North Carolina
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school||Kinston (Kinston, North Carolina)|
|NBA draft||1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 12th overall|
|Selected by the Boston Celtics|
|Number||30, 31, 19, 18|
|1985–1987||Los Angeles Clippers|
|1996||Long Island Surf|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||10,465 (12.5 ppg)|
|Rebounds||5,261 (6.3 rpg)|
|Assists||1,862 (2.2 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Cedric Bryan Maxwell (born November 21, 1955) is an American retired professional basketball player now in radio broadcasting. Nicknamed "Cornbread", he played 11 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and played a key role in two championships with the Boston Celtics.
Maxwell was a star forward/center for the UNC Charlotte 49ers. Among the 49ers, Maxwell ranks 6th all-time in points scored and his #33 jersey was retired in 1977, when he led UNC Charlotte to the NCAA Final Four. Upon completion of his career at Charlotte, Maxwell was the 12th overall pick in the 1977 NBA draft. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics, where he played for eight of his eleven seasons.
Maxwell made an impact in his second season with the Celtics. While Boston was mired in an otherwise awful 1978-79 season, as they awaited Larry Bird's decision to sign with the franchise, the second-year power forward averaged 19.0 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. The Celtics would go just 29-53 on the year, but the young Maxwell's potential, along with the promising addition of Bird and others, set the stage for what would become an NBA dynasty.
Maxwell was best known for his moves near or beneath the basket. He was very effective in the low post, faking defenders into the air, drawing contact, then making high percentage shots (and sometimes drawing a foul) using either his jump-hook close to the basket or going up against the glass. It was rare that Maxwell took an outside jump shot, especially when Celtic teammates like Bird or Tiny Archibald were on the floor. This helped the Celtics run a balanced offense with a formidable inside game that was hard for most teams to defend.
Maxwell, in addition to being a dangerous scorer and a colorful character, was a clutch performer in the playoffs. Maxwell was named MVP of the 1981 NBA Finals. Three years later, Maxwell scored 24 points against the Los Angeles Lakers in the decisive game-seven victory during the 1984 NBA Finals. Before the game, he told his teammates to "climb on my back, boys." Maxwell's colorful side was also on display in the series as he mocked second-year Laker forward James Worthy's inability to make free throws during overtime of game 4 by walking across the lane between free throws with his hands around his own neck, suggesting Worthy's choking under pressure. Maxwell also made fun of Kurt Rambis prior to Game 4 of the 1984 Finals, wearing Rambis's trademark glasses and inadvertently missing a long range shot in front of loyal Rambis fans known as the "Rambis Youth". The following season, after an injury, Maxwell lost his starting role to Kevin McHale, who had spent two seasons coming off the bench and was in the process of winning his 2nd consecutive Sixth Man of the Year.
Maxwell was traded, with a draft pick, on September 6, 1985, to the Los Angeles Clippers for center Bill Walton. Maxwell spent a season and a half with the Clippers before being dealt to the Houston Rockets in January, 1987, for two draft picks. He finally retired from the NBA after the 1987-88 season, having scored 10,465 points and pulled down 5,261 rebounds over the course of 11 seasons, which averages over the course of his career to 12.5 points and 6.3 rebounds a game.
Maxwell was the 22nd former Celtic to have his jersey (number 31) retired by the Celtics (December 15, 2003). He is now a radio broadcaster for WBZ-FM in Boston, where he announces Boston Celtics games with Sean Grande and lives in Weston, Massachusetts. He was also a frequent co-host on WEEI's sports talk radio shows, such as The Big Show with former Celtics TV announcer Glenn Ordway, before Ordway parted with the station. He made guest appearances with the successor program Salk & Holley. In June 2013, Grande and Maxwell began co-hosting a new show, Celtics Summer Cooler, a weekly offseason update on the Celtics.
Maxwell came under fire for comments he made on the air during a game in 2007. Unhappy with the officiating of referee Violet Palmer, he told listeners that Palmer should "go back to the kitchen" and "make me some bacon and eggs". Maxwell apologized during a subsequent broadcast.
On the March 16th 2010 "Primetime with The Packman" radio show (WFNZ-AM) originating out of Charlotte, Cedric Maxwell stated he was open to the coaching position at Charlotte. He went on to say he was hoping the school would at least offer him an interview.
Maxwell received the nickname "Cornbread" from his college teammate Melvin Watkins after the pair went to see the movie Cornbread, Earl and Me, in which a 12-year-old boy is traumatized by the murder of his friend, a star basketball player. Watkins thought that Maxwell looked like the title character (played by Jamaal Wilkes) and so began calling him Cornbread. Since Maxwell did not like the nickname, it did not gain widespread use until Maxwell was named MVP of the NIT tournament in 1976, when, according to Watkins, "The New York media picked up on [the nickname]."
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