Legends Q&A: Cedric Maxwell

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Cedric Maxwell drives to the basket in his playing days.All this week ESPN Boston will be chatting with Celtics legends, who will be discussing some of their favorite memories from their playing days, Paul Pierce’s place in Celtics history, the team’s aging core, and a slew of other topics. Today we check in with Cedric Maxwell, who was named NBA Finals MVP in 1981 while helping the C’s take home their 14th championship in franchise history. Maxwell spent eight seasons in green, and had his number 31 retired by the team back in 2003.

What’s your favorite memory from your playing days?

“Probably 1984, beating the Lakers. That was the best.”

Was it your personal play that stood out or just winning in general?

“Just winning it. Beating somebody you really didn’t like. I think that was the best.”

You still reside in the area today. What’s stuck out most to you about Boston over the years?

“Watching the city grow. Becoming more ethnic-friendly I would say. I think that’s what I really like about the city. I’ve seen more diversity, I’ve seen how the city has grown, and I was one of those people that said I was never going to live here again, and I’ve been back here over 16 years.”

Where would you rank Paul Pierce among all of the Celtic greats?

“Probably about 34th [laughs]. Paul’s a great player, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t know where he would line up, because there [have been] so many great players with the Celtics. I mean, that is a Hall-of-Fame class that you look at. I always tease Paul, ‘You might start on this championship team, but you couldn’t have started for my championship team.’ So, I have a lot of fun with him, but absolutely, Paul is a great player.”

Can the C’s still compete this season with their core another year older?

“Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I’m astounded by just how well they have done to preserve themselves. Kevin’s still in amazing shape, Ray’s in amazing shape, Paul. So you’ve got three guys who are 35 plus, I guess, who are still top athletes, and that to me -- I think that really shows the character of what this team has been about.”

What are your thoughts on Doc Rivers as a coach and the ongoing respect he has earned from his veteran players?

“It just shows you his amazing shelf life. As you said, there are a lot of coaches who are screamers and yellers. Doc has become a personal friend, and you don’t see that a lot with coaches and players. Normally, it’s us against him. But Doc Rivers has made it about them, and he and everybody and the top players he has, have bought into that. And that’s made it easier for him to connect. He made a point early on of saying, ‘This is Kevin, Paul, and Ray’s team,’ and he gave them the ultimate respect. And in turn, they kicked it back on the other side and had the team do what they needed to do."

Greg Payne is a student intern for ESPNBoston.com