Position: Small forward
Teams: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets
All-Star Games: None
NBA championships: Two (1981, 1984)
The man called Cornbread coulda, woulda, shoulda been an all-time Celtics great. Instead, he’s widely known as the loose cannon who stole the Most Valuable Player Award from Larry Bird in the 1981 NBA Finals.
Maxwell showed lots of promise in his first two seasons, except that president Red Auerbach already had eyes for Bird, whom he drafted with a year of college eligibility left. Convinced that the golden boy had been signed to take his place, Maxwell never felt the same about the organization again.
In the 1980 draft, Auerbach stole Kevin McHale, another forward. It wasn’t long before Maxwell became the odd man odd, but not before he supposedly told his teammates, "Hop on my back, boys, I’ll carry you home," before Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals.
Guess who had a team-high 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the clincher against the Los Angeles Lakers?
After the 1984-85 season, Auerbach asked Bird for input on a potential trade for veteran Bill Walton, the has-been center. Silly question. Bird and McHale were Walton fans from way back. Maxwell was shipped to the fifth-place Los Angeles Clippers, and three years later, at 32, he left the league a bitter man.
So ended the saga of Cornbread Maxwell, good enough to be an NBA Finals MVP, not good enough to be a Celtic.