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Interview with NBA Legend Cedric Maxwell; Reflections About His Career, 'The Last Dance'

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Two-time NBA champion and 1981 NBA Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell checks in with me to discuss his NBA career, ‘The Last Dance’ and more.

Cedric Maxwell had his No. 33 jersey retired in 1977 when he led the Charlotte 49ers to the Final Four and he also made a name for himself with the Celtics, where he spent eight of his 11 years in the NBA.

Maxwell has career averages of 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 835 regular season games with the Celtics, Clippers and Rockets. He won the NBA Championship with the Celtics in 1981 and 1984.

The star forward won his NBA Finals MVP award after averaging 17.7 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 blocks in 37.8 minutes over six games to help the Celtics beat the Rockets (4-2) in 1981.

Check our conversation in the transcript below:

What’s your best memory of your time with the Celtics?

Cedric Maxwell: There’s two from playing days. Obviously, 1981, having won the Finals MVP was something I will never forget. Also, game 7, 1984. There’s nothing like a Game 7 and to have had such a large part in contributing to that victory, I’ll never forget that moment. Lastly, post- playing days has to be having my #31 retired to the rafters at TD Garden.

What was your reaction when you found out that your number would be retired and what do you feel seeing it in the rafters at TD Garden?

After being away from Boston for so many years and then coming back as the team radio analyst, having the franchise honor my playing days here in Boston, easily ranks as one of the most emotional and memorable moments of my life. To see my #31 along side all those sports legends, not to mention 17 championship flags… I only have one word to describe it… HUMBLING!

What are the main differences between the era you played in and this era?

So many! The game is barely recognizable when alongside my playing days. The game was more physical and big man focussed around the basket in my day. Today, regardless of size and position, players are faster, more athletic and playmakers. Then there’s the 3-point shot. In my Game 7 (1984) vs. the Lakers, both teams attempted SEVEN three-point shots in 48 mins of play. Need I say more? Haha.

What was it like to play against a young Michael Jordan?

Michael was young and the rosters he played on were not even remotely close to what most people remember from his six championships. We all knew some kid named Michael Jordan was going to be a high impact player but very few people actually knew just how game-changing he’d become.

What do you think about ‘The Last Dance’? Did it change your perception of Michael Jordan?

Obviously, a good diversion for fans while no sports are being played. I can’t say I caught every episode but, from what I did see, it was a compelling story and one that many of my friends had been involved in.

I just spoke with a former teammate of mine and Michael’s, Robert Parish who had some very interesting insights into what it was like playing on Michael’s team (1996-97).

Also connected with many of my other former teammates and friends to either interview on my podcast or get interviewed on their shows. So, ‘The Last Dance’, more than anything for me, reintroduced me to many friends that Father Time had me lose touch with. Thank you, Michael. Haha.

Tell us about your podcast and where else we can find you.

Thank you for that. So, during the pandemic, I’ve taken the time to make a trying situation into a positive by providing more basketball driven discussions with guests from around the NBA.

During normal times, my podcast is actually far more than just basketball. My cohost (Josue Pavon) is actually quite a bit younger than me so, we tend to talk a lot about life off the court and how it’s been affected by life on the court.

Josue covers the Celtics for CLNS Media. CLNS is the company I also work with for my podcast. So find it on clnsmedia.com OR where ever you listen to your favorite shows. We are everywhere! As for my REAL JOB, I’m proud to say that for the last 25 years I’ve served as the radio analyst of the Boston Celtics. Our games are broadcast on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.