The passing of Red Auerbach got me to thinking about the relationship between the UNCC grad and the one from GW. From the Boston Globe:
Red was sometimes crude and ever vengeful. Ask Cedric Maxwell. When Max took too long to recover from knee surgery in 1985, Red shipped him out of town (for Bill Walton), then had all positive Maxwell references deleted from an Auerbach book that was still in production. Downright Kremlinesque. It took two decades for Red to agree to let the Celtics retire Max's number.
Boston.com: [b][url=http://www.boston.com/sports/articles/2006/10/29/for_decades_he_lit_up_our_lives/]For decades, he lit up our lives[/url][/b]
Max's mouth tended to get him in trouble. He talked an endless stream of trash to Celtic opponents. Prior to the 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Knicks, Maxwell vowed to shut down Bernard King, one of the league's top scorers. "That bitch ain't gettin' 40 on me," Max said. He even went so far as to imitate King's distinctive gait, and said, "Ain't no way a guy who walks like this is getting 40 on me." Of course, King scored 43 in Game 4 and 44 in Game 6 as New York pushed Boston to the limit.
Although Max usually backed up his brash words, there were times he talked the talk then took the night off. He once approached Elvin Hayes before a game and predicted a severe ass-kicking…courtesy of Kevin McHale. He also tended to coast through games against weak teams, trying to pick up fouls quickly so he could take a seat on the bench. “I’m not getting injured playing no junior varsity game,” Maxwell would tell his teammates. That kind of attitude tended to grate.
Max wrote his own sentence when he got on Red Auerbach’s bad side. Cornbread injured his knee during the 1984-85 season, and, according to some, didn’t fully commit himself to his rehab (if you go back and watch any of the classic Celtic games from that season, you’ll notice Maxwell is a shell of his former self). Then, when Auerback told Cedric he should attend rookie camp to test the knee, Maxwell balked. This infuriated Red, who promptly traded Max to the Clippers for Bill Walton. With Big Bill playing the role of the best backup center in NBA history, the Celtics won 67 games and steamrolled the competition en route to their 16th world championship. And to this day, Walton’s contributions during that one season are more well-known and celebrated than anything Maxwell did in his 600-plus games with the team.
Still, Max eventually got his due. After almost 20 years, the Celtics finally retired his number 31, once Auerbach was finally ready to forgive him his transgressions. As Maxwell said, “The father should not have to apologize to the son. And Red is the father.”
Fortunately, Cedric Maxwell never said anything foolhardy again. Ask Jimmyhat49er.