"If you're a Fakers fan, whatever floats your boat!": Cedric Maxwell mocks Lakers for IST banner, tips Celtics to land 18th championship (Exclusive)

"If you
"If you're a Fakers fan, whatever floats your boat!": Cedric Maxwell mocks Lakers for IST banner, tips Celtics to land 18th championship (Exclusive)

For just this one time, former Boston Celtics player and radio analyst Cedric Maxwell smiled as he gazed up at the Lakers’ rafters.

Maxwell has pestered former Lakers player and radio analyst Mychal Thompson often that the Celtics will become the first NBA franchise to win 18 NBA championships at the Lakers’ expense. As he processed Thompson’s recent rebuttal that the Lakers will actually win the NBA title this season because of LeBron James and a strong supporting cast, Maxwell implied Thompson doesn’t need to worry about the NBA championship arms race. Maxwell then mockingly admired the Lakers’ In-Season Tournament championship banner.

“They got their 18th banner right there!” Maxwell said as he pointed to the Lakers’ In-Season Tournament championship banner. “Is that it? I’m asking you. Is that it? Didn’t they stop the game so they could bring it up and unveil it?”

The Lakers unveiled the IST banner before last week’s game against the New York Knicks. Historically, the Lakers have never hung up anything regarding their 32 Western Conference Finals appearances or their 24 Pacific Division titles. They only have displayed the 12 championships they won in LA and the five they won in Minneapolis. The Lakers changed course, however, after winning the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament in part to validate the league’s new initiative.

“Whatever floats their boat,” Maxwell said, shaking his head. “If you’re a Fakers fan, whatever floats your boat.”

Cedric Maxwell interview (Exclusive)

Maxwell also spoke with Sportskeeda about the Celtics’ league-best 23-6 record, how Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday have fit in and more.

Editor’s note: The following 1-on-1 conversation has been edited and condensed.

How does the Celtics’ start line up with what you expected at this point?

Maxwell:

“I just think they’re playing extremely well and they have so many ways to beat you. You have fix or six guys that can score 20 almost every night. So I think that’s how they are so effective. Then, Porzingis has gone from a No. 1 and a No. 2 option [on other teams] to now maybe being your fourth option. That’s how good this team is. Derrick White has played well and can be an All-Star this year. Everybody has solidified themselves and played in their roles. People keep talking about the bench. But every time, Joe Mazzulla comes to the bench, he has some guys that can come in and play.”

Beyond the talent, why does Boston have the best starting lineup in the league?

Maxwell:

“They got maturity. They have studs. The game is run by forwards now. [Jayson] Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown are the two best combinations right now in the game. I don’t think anyone is going to argue that point. LeBron is LeBron. But LeBron is older. But these dudes are young lions.”

How has Kristaps Porzingis managed to fit in right away?

Maxwell:

“He’s managed to play a different role. They’re not asking him to do a lot of stuff. They’re just asking him to be himself. He sits in and shoots the ball from the outside. He’s a security blanket right now for Tatum and Brown. The thing about this starting five is you can’t lay off any of these guys from the 3-point line. With the 3-point line becoming dangerous, driving to the basket becomes a lot easier. You’re in a true one-on-one.”

What was your initial reaction when the KP trade went down last summer?

Maxwell:

“Because the Celtics lost Marcus Smart, I wasn’t happy. Marcus is my dawg, man. But then they got me another dog when they got Jrue Holiday. You had to wait. I wanted to wait to see how Porzingis would fit in. It’s been seamless with the way he’s shot the ball and connected with these guys. He has a great partnership with Brown. Him and Jaylen Brown, man. That’s the new odd couple. They are playing so effectively right now.”

Did that surprise you?

Maxwell:

“Yeah, very much so. You heard a lot about Porzingis about who he was and what he’s done. But right now, he’s setting things on fire.”

When they got Jrue, did you think this put the Celtics as the better team over the Bucks?

Maxwell:

“Yeah, he’s a better defender. Milwaukee has been playing well, but they miss him defensively. Dame is one of my favorite players right now in this league. But when I think about Jrue Holiday and what he can bring to the table offensively and defensively, he’s a great commander.”

Mychal Thompson told me you’re always going up to him saying that the Celtics will get 18 NBA titles before the Lakers do….

Maxwell:

[interrupts] “Oh, wait a minute. They got their 18th banner right there! (points to the IST banner). Is that it? I’m asking you. Is that it? Didn’t they stop the game so they could bring it up and unveil it? What’s that?”

What did you think of them hanging the In-Season tournament banner?

Maxwell:

“Whatever floats their boat. If you’re a Fakers fan, whatever floats your boat.”

What’s your outlook on whether the Celtics will win the title this year?

Maxwell:

“I think they’ll do it. I say the same thing to my man, James Worthy. This year is going to be the year that solidifies that. Even though I look at LeBron as a marvel at what he’s able to do at a player his age. I know I wasn’t thinking about playing basketball at 39 on a competitive floor. But what he’s done has been amazing.”

Mychal says he often tells you the Lakers will win it because they have the best player in the world and they have the deepest team. What do you say back?

Maxwell:

“Mychal doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about (laughs). If you had five little short guys out there on the floor, Mychal would say, ‘This is the best team in the world.’ He drinks the Kool-Aid. LeBron is still a great player. There is no doubt about that. I am surprised about that at his advanced age. But right now, the Celtics still have the best starting five. Then you can go down to [Al] Horford at No. 6.”

Mychal said after the Lakers win, he’ll wear an 18 medallion and take a picture with you….

Maxwell [interrupts]:

“I’m going to keep looking up at the 18th banner right now. Wow. That looks really interesting!!"

What have you been saying to James Worthy lately?

Maxwell:

“I can’t wait for my man, James Worthy. I know he’s already talking. Tell James Worthy that we’re about to get some of that Laker ass!”

Mark Medina is an NBA insider for Sporskeeda. Follow him on X, Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

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