Cedric Maxwell“I got the ball!”

With those words, Cedric Maxwell interrupted the call of broadcast partner Sean Grande as the Celtics clinched their 17th World Championship just a few weeks ago.

After an 11 year NBA career with the Celtics (who retired his number 31 in 2003), Clippers and Rockets,  Maxwell joined the Celtics radio broadcast team in 1995.

He’s developed his own signature style over the years, including the “Quack…quack…QUACK!” after a big play. This call originated while the broadcasts were on AM 1510 the Zone, which had a signal that went straight out to the ocean. The call is said to be a reference that only the ocean birds and ducks could hear the call.

Maxwell got in some hot water last year with a comment he made about referee Violet Palmer. This controversy went national in scale, and caused much discussion around various blogs on the internet and in the media. The remark was actually a dig at the style of Celtics TV announcer Tommy Heinsohn, but those who weren’t familiar with the reference assumed the worst of Maxwell.

With the Celtics resurging to a championship level this season, Maxwell has been a frequent guest on WEEI’s Big Show. He seems to have something of a beef with former teammate Larry Bird, as not a show will go by without some reference (usually initiated by the host) by Max about Bird.



47 thoughts on “Approval Ratings – Cedric Maxwell

  1. Whether or not the Dirk is better than Larry thing is an act or if he really believes it, his anti-Larry agenda earns a big disapprove. Judging by the Grande ratings, I have a hard time believing that anyone is actually listening to this team on the radio.


  2. His Bird problems aside, Max is entertaining. He had massive diction problems at first, but now, he’s quite good. Not among the best local NBA analyst, but above average and sometimes, he’ll come up with a gem or two.

    I’ll vote a mild approve.


    1. NBA Audio League pass is a completely free service. You all should check it out next season.

      Maxwell, hands down, is the best radio “color man” in the business.

      Grande, on the other hand, is kind of a joke. So much contrived excitement, too many cliches, too many useless stats. He is a wanna-be Mike Gorman that takes Gorman’s flaw to a entirely new level.

      During the playoff run, after every Celts home victory(going back to round one) he would call out the people that were at all worried about their road performances for being “bandwagon jumpers”. Huh?


  3. Huge approve, especially about the Bird comments.Larry Bird isn’t above criticism,and it’s ok to point out that he wasn’t perfect on or off a basketball court.He does a very creditable job on the broadcasts and brings up interesting points on appearances.He is not a sycophant or a team suck up and gives criticism and credit where it is warranted.Two thumbs up.


  4. Huge approve here too.

    I work evenings and Max (and Grande) made not being able to see most C’s games this Championship year bearable. Nothing will match baseball on the radio, but good stuff from Max made this a special season.


    1. Seems pretty self-explanatory from what Bruce said.

      I’m actually wondering how he got the nickname ‘Cornbread’.


      1. His college teammate thought he looked like the character “Cornbread” in the movie “Cornbread, Earl and Me”.


  5. I’m torn on this one.

    Disapprove: Continue attacks on #33 during the Big Show, analysis a bit lacking from someone who played the game as long as he did, can’t seem to let old battles go and refuses acknowledge that he was a good player but not a great player. Can be a contrarian.

    Approve: Entertaining. Is no shill for the Celtics brand. Has good chemistry with his complete opposite in Grande. Clowned Violet Palmer because she’s just awful.

    A tough one, but you don’t go against Larry Bird.



  6. “Look out behind you!” Disapprove.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Max is a clown. Being a clown is fine when the team is struggling just to be a blip on the proverbial local sports radar. No radio outside Billerica could pick up the signal, nor would anyone seek out the game on radio since the Celts were so piss-poor. But if this is going to be a championship-caliber contender, at least for the next few seasons, then Max needs to cut the comedy routine … especially considering he’s not funny. He knows his basketball, but stop quacking.


  7. Max is someone i enjoy listening to……he makes the broadcasts fun for me. The part i just dont think is Major League is Grande’s call of the game….something about his voice is missing for me!


  8. I don’t understand why the “I got the ball” moment is such a big deal/problem. I thought it was part of a spontaneous moment of celebration for the players, the organization, those who are associated with the C’s such as Max and, very importantly, the fans. I don’t think Max should be embarassed about it or be chided for it. He is funny, sarcastic and pretty honest in his color commentary on the C’s. That’s good enough for me. Approve.


  9. Split decision. He’s likeable enough, but gets overexposes easily when he’s co-hosting on WEEI. A mixed bag, but an overall disapprove for his association with the grandstanding gasbag that is Sean Grande.


  10. Max has grown into the role over the years.

    In the beginning, I thought he was below average, but he’s improved.

    He’s not great, but he’s good enough.

    However, the anti-Bird agenda is wholly unjustified. If Max had a problem with Larry personally, that’s fine, but to constantly rate underachievers like Dirk Nowitski as better basketball players than Bird simply displays a pettiness that a man in his early 50s should be long-since done with.

    Mild Approve.

    By the way…I thought “I got the ball!!!” was a great, spontaneous moment.


  11. I get the impression, from his Big Show appearances, that he feels he must remind people how valuable he was to the Celtics. Self praise is no praise.


  12. Mild approve. Quack quack quack!

    I’m over looking his silly Larry bashing and the fact that he seems to actually be rooting against the team at points. And Violet Palmer is awful. She’s just not AS bad as some of the other clowns David Stern employs. I think they use the same talent pool as Hockey East… (kidding! kidding…)


  13. Big Approve.

    Max and guys like Remy make the games extremely entertaining to listen to, and they both know their stuff.

    What’d I tell ya?

    You CAN’T leave the house!!

    Love that. 🙂


  14. his anti Bird Larry is from San Francisco shtick has grown beyond tiresome. Max is really a one trick pony on WEEI.

    his lack of professionalism is obvious with the Violet Palmer “go back to the kitchen and make me some bacon and eggs” comments


    yelling “watch out behind you” during the Eastern conference finals as Rip Hamilton attempted to strip James Posey of the ball in the waning moments of game 6.

    also, his “quack quack” antics are kinda pointless and silly



  15. Approve!

    Does a good job on the radio and isn’t afraid to get on the team if their playing bad.

    I can let the Bird stuff go. Reading between the lines Max seems to feel he gets no credit and it was all Bird yet he was the 81 Finals MVP

    A comment he made to a caller on EEI when the guy said Bird made the others better and Max replied that “Didn’t we (the rest) make Bird better also?” and the caller wanted no part of that.


  16. i enjoy listening to max he does a good job. i would like him to address the racial makeup of larry johnson.


  17. This guy just plain sucks at his job. He gufaws his way through Celtics broadcasts and overuses slang, which is incredibly unprofessional. He was an embarrassment during the Finals. A color analyst provides detailed commentary on the game from a perspective a normal fan can’t get. He does not do that. He…”quacks”.

    Epic Disapprove.


  18. I find Max refreshingly entertaining. I laugh everytime I hear “I got the ball” and “Watch out behind you”.

    I don’t understand the “quack, quack, quack” reference, but I think he’s funny.


  19. Approve just for interrupting Grande’s self important, look-at-me call after the Celtics won. Grande is an ass and anything that Maxwell can do to bust him down a few notches is good.


  20. Years from now the Celtics radio call that will live with “It’s over, it’s all over!” will be “I got the ball!” not some absurd attempt by Grande at reading a prepared speech in a moment that calls for a spontaneous sentence, no, phrase that captures the joy of victory.

    It’s hard to disapprove of a guy that’s just an announcer when said guy actually was key as a player in winning something. So he makes a few mistakes – Max was a clutch performer when it counted. APPROVE.


  21. Mild approval.

    I like Max and I think he does a solid job.

    He needs to tone down the quack thing…it’s getting old and more and more annoying. He needs to be careful about not making himself part of the broadcast like Tommy has become.

    His experience playing w/ the Celtics helps him a lot. He’s improved a lot over the years as the color man. I feel bad for him for stealing Randy’s championship call. I don’t think he meant for that to happen…it was unfortunate nonetheless.


  22. A little off topic, but can anyone enlighten me on the circumstances surrounding him leaving the Celtics? Did his beef with Larry play a factor in this? I was pretty young at the time but I seem to remember him still being a solid player when he left to finish his career elsewhere.


    1. A big element of that was the fact that Max had had arthroscopic knee surgery during the Winter of ’85, presumably to clean out some minor damage and get him ready for the playoffs. But the effects of the surgery lingered and Max was pretty much rendered unusable for most of the ’85 playoffs, which saw the C’s fall 2 wins short of back-to-back titles primarily because of depth issues. The Celtics, and especially Auerbach, felt that Max got lazy and didn’t rehab the injury diligently enough, especially since Denver’s Fat Lever had pretty much the same surgery during the playoffs that year, and came back 10 days later to drop a near-triple double on the Lakers in the Western Finals. Red didn’t forgive Max for that for YEARS, until he finally gave in to having his number retired a few years back.

      As for the Walton trade, I’m not sure if Max’s name was in the discussion right away, or if Bird wanted Max gone. All I know is that when Walton called Red after the ’85 playoffs were done, and said that he wanted to play for the Celtics, Bird told Red to “go get him if you can.”


  23. someone posted recently that auerbach asked bird if they should trade max for walton, bird’s response? a resounding hell yeah.

    i like max doing the games, you obviously have to have a moderate threshold for his schtick and inside jokes. grande was a disappointment this year. he used to just do game play by play, at some point this year he decided he was going to approach the games as if he was trying out for hamlet. he’s a good play by play guy. the incessant need to contextualize everything is extremely annoying. i believe with the success of the team he knew his calls would be picked up by national outlets for sports flashes and recaps so he started with proclamations from on high to get himself noticed.

    max is weird. both he and grande interject their personal lives into broadcasts way too much. do i need to know that they are divorced? no. but they remind me any chance they get. they do get the game flow right alot of the time and are a good counterpoint to tommy’s cheerleading as they’ll offer up criticism of coach and players.

    how many people even heard the max call live?


  24. Approve. God bless him for interrupting Grande’s pompous, over-rehearsed spiel. If John Sterling had used an idiotic phrase like “the game’s original monarchy” after a Yankees WS win EEI would still be playing the cut and jeering at it.


    1. While we’re on Grande: we’ve had guy in this town for 30 years whose signature phrase when a basket is made is “Got It!” I’m talking about Mike Gorman. So why does Grande come to town and steal the “Got It” from Gorman? Why not steal “Yes!” from Marv Albert, or “Bang” from Johnny Most? Very annoying.


  25. An enthusiastic Approve.

    Max’s color work is a welcome interruption of Grandious Grande. As far as the Larry schtick on the Big Show, the blame is firmly with Ordway. Ordway will play the card early, baiting the morons who will call. It is tedious and somewhat amusing since the same dopes will call and Max will patiently listen, reply, and then expose them with “I was there.”


  26. Looks like Grande is getting ripped more here than on his own approval poll last month.

    So both Max and Grande are divorced? I’ve only heard Max drone on about his marital woes during some of the game broadcasts.

    I actually approve of them both, they generally make a good on-air tandem.


  27. the ultra buffoon.disapprove mainly because of his anti larry bird comments.bird was the greatest to play the game.max played the game and continues to suck up to the big fat o.


    1. A few things:
      -Cornbread’s fued with Larry is assinine.
      -Bill Russell was better than Bird. Conversely, Bird was better than Cedric
      -Cedric Maxwell was one of the most under rated Celtics ever
      -Sucking up to Ordway is wrong and no one should do it. Ever.
      -His schtick will never be as annoying as Tommy Heihnsohn or Jack Edwards.


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