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Cedric Maxwell and Larry Bird won two NBA championships together with the Boston Celtics in the early 1980s. The two were teammates in Boston for six seasons, and both played significant roles in securing titles in 1981 and 1984.

The Celtics traded Maxwell in a deal for veteran center Bill Walton before the 1985-86 season, another championship year for Boston. Although he always appreciated his fellow Celtics members, Maxwell left Boston on not-so-great terms with his teammates, Bird included. In April 2024, Maxwell, Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish reunited in Boston. On his podcast, Maxwell admitted he appreciates Bird even more after their latest encounter.

Cedric Maxwell Has Another Reason To Appreciate Larry Bird

Maxwell played two seasons in Boston before Bird arrived. In his second NBA season, the year before Bird arrived, Maxwell led the NBA in field goal percentage (58.4%) for the first of two straight years. He also averaged 19.0 points and 9.9 rebounds. Maxwell was named Finals MVP in 1981 and dominated Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals against the rival Los Angeles Lakers.

Maxwell then felt soreness in his knee in February 1985. He found out he hard torn cartilage and needed surgery. According to Maxwell’s book “If These Walls Could Talk,” he was expected to miss four weeks but was out much longer.

“Once I got hurt, everything changed, especially my relationship with the team and my teammates,” Maxwell wrote. “(Bird) and some of my teammates felt like I didn’t want to come back. That really hurt me. Here’s a guy I grew up with and won championships with. So, yeah, that stung. That was probably my lowest moment — just being hurt and people not understanding I was hurt.”

While that stung, there’s no doubt Maxwell had a deep admiration for Bird, who won three straight MVPs from 1984 to 1986, on the basketball court. When Maxwell caught up with Bird in April 2024 at the opening of a Dick’s Sporting Goods Store in Boston that drew thousands of fans, Maxwell said his appreciation for Bird went to another level.

“It was great being back in company with those guys,” Maxwell said on “The Cedric Maxwell Podcast.” “I think we have not been together since 1984.

“It was packed. I’ve been in this kind of setting before, but it makes me appreciate Larry Bird for who is he that much more. With every step he took, a camera popping in his face. People screaming LA-RRY, LA-RRY. It was just kind of crazy to see.”

Maxwell Said He’s Hopeful for More Reunions

Yesterday was great spending time w my guys yesterday. #2chips

Now let’s go get BANNER 18 Celtics! 🔥

Again, thanks to @DICKS for making this possible & @CelticsCLNS for covering the event. #dkspartner

Maxwell, now Boston’s radio color man, had plenty of animosity when left the Celtics before the 1985-86 season. In his book, he wrote that he didn’t know if he ever wanted to come back to Boston. He said that all changed after attending Larry Bird Night in February 1993, an event he reluctantly attended.

“Whether to come was a tough decision,” Maxwell wrote. “I’d almost promised myself that I’d never see Boston again. The woman I was dating, Maurice Stark, convinced me that maybe it was time to go back. Finally, I decided to return. To be honest, I was kind of dreading it, but I wanted to honor Bird. He was a great teammate. He deserved to have this night.

“Coming back for that night changed my life. It was like all the hard feelings went away, at least temporarily. Even with the titles, the Finals MVP, this might have been the best moment of my career.”

After meeting up with Bird, McHale, and Parish in April, Maxwell hopes there will be more opportunities to catch up again.

“The event was great,” Maxwell said. “I had a chance to talk to Robert and Kevin. I think we’re going to have them together on the podcast. Mr. Bird, if you’d like to join us on this podcast, you’d be more than welcome.”

Mike Thomas is a veteran sports reporter covering the NBA for Heavy.com, with a focus on the Boston Celtics. He previously worked as an NBA and NFL writer for Sportscasting and was the Sports Editor for The Herald News in Fall River, Massachusetts for 16 years. More about Mike Thomas

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