In 1981, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals. In 1984, he told his teammates to jump on his back before Game 7 of the ’84 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Maxwell helped secure Boston’s title by leading the team in scoring in that deciding game.
Maxwell won two rings during his eight seasons with the Celtics. He no longer has the 1984 championship ring in his possession and said parting with it wasn’t all that difficult.
Cedric Maxwell was the star with the Boston Celtics before the stars arrived
The Celtics selected Maxwell with the 12th pick in the 1977 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-8 forward out of UNC Charlotte didn’t disappoint.
After playing just 16.8 minutes per game as a rookie, Maxwell blossomed in his second professional season. He saw his minutes more than double (37.1), and he averaged 19.0 points and 9.9 rebounds in the 1978-79 season.
The following year, Larry Bird came into the league and stole the spotlight. He earned Rookie of the Year honors as the Celtics won 61 games, up from 29 the previous season. Even with Bird in the mix, Maxwell still put up 16.9 points and 8.8 rebounds.
In 1980, the Celtics had the top pick in the draft. They swung one of the biggest deals in team history when they packaged that No. 1 pick with the 13th pick and sent them to the Golden State Warriors. In return, the Celtics received center Robert Parish and the third overall selection. With that third pick, they chose Kevin McHale, forming the Big Three frontcourt of Bird, McHale, and Parish, three future Hall of Famers.
Maxwell still found a way to shine through all the other stars on the team, lighting it up in the ’81 Finals. His 24-point, eight-rebound effort in Game 7 of the ’84 Finals was key to securing Boston’s second championship of the decade.
Maxwell no longer has his ’84 championship ring, and he’s just fine with it
Maxwell might be the most underrated Celtics player in the ’80s. Bird, McHale, and Parish got most of the credit, but Maxwell always came up big when it counted most. Although he played a significant role in both of his championships, he no longer has his ring from the 1984 title.
Maxwell donated the ring to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. He admitted it wasn’t all that tough to see it leave his finger.
During an interview with Michael D. McClellan of Celtic Nation, McClellan said he heard about Maxwell letting go of one of his rings. He asked Maxwell which one it was and how hard it was to let it go.
“It was the 1984 ring, and it really wasn’t that hard to part with,” Maxwell said. “From a purely practical standpoint, it wasn’t hard because I don’t wear jewelry.
“The championship rings are so large and gaudy that I never felt comfortable with it on. On another level, the ring really wasn’t the most important thing to me. You can always lose a ring, but you can’t lose the championship.
“It was all about the camaraderie that I shared with my teammates and the thrill of knowing that we were the best in the world. All of those things are greater than the ring.”