Celtics

Cedric Maxwell: LeBron James, not Michael Jordan, is the GOAT due to activism

Cedric Maxwell: LeBron James, not Michael Jordan, is the GOAT due to activism

If you believe Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, Cedric Maxwell wants you to consider a new perspective.

The former Boston Celtics star joined NBC Sports Boston's "Arbella Early Edition" to explain why LeBron James, not Jordan, should be considered the GOAT -- for reasons that go beyond on-court talent.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

"LeBron James is the GOAT now," Maxwell said. "He's the GOAT because, not only on the basketball side, but social issues: He's been involved in every social issue that we look at.

"When somebody says, 'Shut up and dribble' -- LeBron James has put his money where his mouth is, and that to me resonates. That's why I think more of our players and more NBA people need to step up and find that same courage."

 

James has consistently used his public platform to speak out against social inequality and call attention to racial injustice. The Los Angeles Lakers star has shared several statements on social media about the recent killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and in 2014 wore a shirt reading "I Can't Breathe" prior to a Cleveland Cavaliers game to call attention to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of a New York police officer.

Jordan, meanwhile, has been criticized for staying out of politics and not taking a stand against racial injustice. Most notably, the former Chicago Bulls star took heat for not endorsing Harvey Gantt to become North Carolina's first African-American U.S. Senator in 1990. He later rationalized his decision by noting that "Republicans buy sneakers too."

Maxwell believes Jordan still values commercial gain over standing up for what's right, which is why he believes James deserves the true "GOAT" title.

"During this pandemic, Georgia opened up, and there was a shoe store that dropped Jordan's shoes during that time," Maxwell said. "And it showed all these kids with no masks on (trying to buy Jordan's shoes). Did Nike need that kind of publicity? Did Jordan need that kind of publicity?"

Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell know real reason why Celtics star lit up Blazers

Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell know real reason why Celtics star lit up Blazers

Momma always knows best -- except when it comes to Jayson Tatum's hair.

The Boston Celtics star arrived at the NBA bubble in Orlando rocking a long, curly haircut that was a major departure from his usual tight fade.

The new look didn't do Tatum any favors, though: He scored just five points on 2-of-18 shooting Friday in the Celtics' seeding round opener against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

So, the 22-year-old decided to lop off his locks prior to Sunday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Turns out that was the right call: Tatum dropped 34 points on 11-of-22 shooting while adding eight assists and four rebounds in Boston's 128-124 win.

Tatum's bounce-back game led Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (and the rest of NBA Twitter) to make an obvious observation:

Tatum lent credence to this theory after the game, admitting he actually wanted to cut his hair prior to Friday's game against the Bucks.

"My mom, my grandma, a couple people -- they loved the curls, and they wanted me to at least play a game or two with them," Tatum said.

Tatum obliged his family by playing one game (and three bubble scrimmages) with the curls, but it sounds like they were messing with his mojo. Well, that and a mechanical issue he noticed while watching film of Celtics-Bucks.

"I was just watching film -- had to stay on balance," Tatum added. "I think I was more on balance (Sunday) shooting threes and pull-up threes that I missed the other day. Just getting back to the basics, getting back to my routine, shooting the ball the right way."

Was Tatum's full head of hair to blame for him being off-balance? It sounds like the Celtics' young star wasn't keen on finding out.

This great Jaylen Brown stat shows how vital his scoring is to Celtics

This great Jaylen Brown stat shows how vital his scoring is to Celtics

The Boston Celtics blew a huge lead in Sunday's NBA seeding game against the Portland Trail Blazers and probably would've lost if not for the fourth quarter heroics of Jaylen Brown.

The 23-year-old guard scored 30 points on 10-for-18 shooting, including a 6-for-8 mark from 3-point range. Brown was at his best when it mattered in the final quarter, though. He scored 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting (4-for-4 on 3-pointers) in the fourth. His 3-point shot with 31.8 seconds remaining in the game gave the Celtics a 125-119 lead, which was enough to hold off the pesky Blazers and secure a 128-124 win.

How important is Brown's offensive game to the Celtics' ability to win games? Consider this stat: The Celtics are 13-0 this season when Brown scores 25 or more points.

Brown is in the midst of his best season as a Celtic. He entered the Orlando bubble averaging a career-best 20 points per game. He's also on pace to set career highs in rebounds per game, assists per game, steals per game, free throw percentage and field goal percentage, among other stats.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

The C's guard has scored a total of 52 points in the first two seeding games, and there are reasons to be optimistic about his scoring success continuing. One of them is Brown's recent performances versus Boston's next seeding game opponent, the Miami Heat. Brown is averaging 28 points and shooting 52.9 percent from beyond the arc against the Heat this season.