A whole generation - maybe two generations - think of Cedric Maxwell as the colorful color man on Celtics radio broadcasts. That's understandable; it's been thirty years since he laced them up. But there was a time when Cornbread was a key component to the Boston basketball dynasty of the 1980s. The team's best player during the lousy season before Bird joined the Green, Maxwell was MVP of the 1981 NBA Finals. And in 1984, ahead of the decisive Game 7 of the Finals against the Lakers, Maxwell told his teammates to "jump on his back". He delivered 24 clutch points in the game and the Celtics added another banner to the rafters.
Maxwell's number 31 would join it there. A big-game player, Cornbread was also a big-time trash talker. He mocked James Worthy's dismal free throw shooting by crossing the lane ahead of Magic's sidekick, hands clasped around his own throat in the universal sports gesture of choking. He also made fun of bespectacled Kurt Rambis by wearing big glasses in warmups and intentionally missing shots in front of the Lakers bench. Good times.
Maxwell has been one of the voices of the Celtics for nearly twenty years. During one of his broadcasts, he ripped into female NBA referee Violet Palmer, telling her to "go back to the kitchen and make me some bacon and eggs". It was a deeply stupid thing to say, and Maxwell apologized the following night. I'm willing to consider it a mistake rather than evidence of entrenched sexism, especially given that it was an isolated incident. But I suppose I have that luxury.