Celtics Champ Shares Conversation With Emotional Joe Mazzulla About Banner 18

Joe Mazzulla

Getty According to Cedric Maxwell, Joe Mazzulla got a little emotional when talking about a Boston championship.

Former Boston Celtics star Cedric Maxwell won NBA championships in 1981 and 1984. He was named Finals MVP in 1981 and then famously told his team to jump on his back in Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. He didn’t disappoint as he led Boston with 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds in a victory that secured the Celtics’ second title of the decade.

Joe Mazzulla seeks his first NBA championship and Boston’s first since 2008. The Celtics head coach is headed in the right direction, guiding his team to an NBA-best record of 55-14. Maxwell, now a radio color man with the Celtics, said he and Mazzulla got together a few hours before a game on the floor of TD Garden. Max said when Mazzulla looked up at the 17 championship banners, the conversation turned emotional.

Joe Mazzulla Got Choked Up When Talking to Cedric Maxwell About a Championship

Maxwell played eight of his 11 NBA seasons with the Celtics. During the 1978-79 season, his second year in the league, he averaged 19.0 points and 9.9 rebounds. When Larry Bird came on as a rookie the following season, Maxwell still put up 16.9 points and 8.8 rebounds. In those two seasons, Maxwell led the NBA in field-goal percentage.

Maxwell knows what it takes to win an NBA championship. That title talk was the gist of the conversation between Maxwell and Mazzulla.

“Joe Mazzulla does this thing where he walks around the court before the game,” Maxwell said on “The Cedric Maxwell Podcast.” “I was out there early, probably three hours before anybody got in the building.

“He stopped in front of me and said, ‘What number were you? What championship did you win?’ I said ’81 and ’84. That’s the first time I really talked to Joe.

“I said I hope you guys play well, and that’s when he was talking about the pressure (of winning in Boston). It was crazy. It seemed like he had tears in his eyes, saying, ‘I would do anything to bring a championship banner here.’

“I’m just hoping and praying that he does. He deserves it. The team deserves it.”

Maxwell Knows Mazzulla Is Under Pressure

Fair or unfair, Mazzulla is under pressure to being home a title for Boston. For years, the team has been close but hasn’t been able to get over the hump. Last year, they embarrassingly lost Game 7 of the conference finals at home to the Miami Heat. Two years ago, they held a 2-1 series advantage over the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, only to lose three straight.

This year, they’ve been the best team in the league all year. None of that will matter to Celtics fans if they don’t win their 18th championship.

Maxwell said all of that success this season just adds to the pressure of Boston bringing home a championship.

“You stay the course when your team is one of the best right now in NBA history, offensively,” Maxwell said. “This is one of the best teams offensively in the history of the NBA.

“This team has a tremendous amount of pressure on them because they have set themselves up for failure because they’ve been so damn good. They’ve set a standard.”

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