After passing on an opportunity to interview minority candidates for the sudden opening of the Boston Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations position on Danny Ainge’s retirement in that role at the end of last season, the team has now embarked on an ambitious search to replace Brad Stevens as head coach after his promotion to team president.
And there are a growing number of voices advocating for a person of color to get that job, including Boston-area sports broadcaster and former Celtics champion Cedric Maxwell. Cornbread — as he was affectionately known as a player — talked about his feelings on who should helm the team he won an NBA Finals MVP with in 1981 in a recent interview with the Athletic’s Jay King.
“I think [hiring a person of color as coach is] important because if you look at the Celtics front office, if you look at most of those people who are there, who have been in the front office, ownership, everything else, those people aren’t of color,” he began.
“I think it would help the players if they found somebody who they could relate to maybe a little bit more” Maxwell elaborated. So that’s why I think it’s very important.
“I would love to have more diversity in the front office … I’ve said that a thousand times about the Celtics. I think that would definitely help make them a little more relatable maybe to potential free agents, having people of color in the front office.”
The hiring process of Stevens did that potential future concern no favors, with the abrupt elevation of the Indiana native to team president derided as an example of what the NBA needs to avoid in hiring practices in some corners. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1404030844046647297?s=20
“Let’s look at what has happened here in the last year or so,” Maxwell said.
“You think about a Jaylen Brown, you think about a [Jayson] Tatum, all these people were involved in Black Lives Matter. So yeah, [it matters] even more so now than maybe years before about having people they can relate to. And sometimes it’s just great when you look at a person and that person looks kind of like you, and sometimes you feel like he might know your struggles a little bit more.”
“I’m not saying that Brad was the wrong way or whatever, but I just think the overall [dynamic] just changes when you have a person of color who is behind that in the head coaching job,” explained the North Carolina native. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1404068624864878599?s=20
That doesn’t mean the Celtics great thinks Stevens wasn’t the right guy for the job at the time, though. “I don’t think anything was missing with Brad,” Maxwell opined. “I just think now everybody thinks it’s time for another voice.”
“A voice gets tired after a while, so a new direction, a new following. And I happen to like the fact that Brad is being the head of basketball operations because who would know better about the weaknesses and the strengths of this team than the guy who’s seen this team almost every day.”
“So, he knows better than anybody what this team needs,” he added. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1404076108644065281?s=20
While Boston might have stumbled by not conducting a search for team president, the list of candidates for the head coaching position is populated by a number of people of color, suggesting the Celtics are taking Maxwell’s perspective into consideration. And that “different dynamic” he mentioned might just be what we’re watching on the sidelines next season as a result. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=51946,51921,51919,51913] [listicle id=51924]