Vernon Maxwell (born September 12, 1965, in Gainesville, Florida) is a retired American professional Basketball player who played in the NBA from 1988-2001, with his longest tenure being with the Houston Rockets. Aside from his basketball achievements, he was notorious for his erratic public behavior and run-ins with the law, and was arrested eight times in ten years. The nickname "Mad Max" was bestowed upon Maxwell by color commentators for his clutch three-point shooting, which reached its pinnacle in the deciding game of the 1994 NBA Finals between Houston and New York. Maxwell is among a handful of players to amass 30 points in a single quarter, accomplishing that feat en route to a 51-point outing January 26, 1991, against Cleveland.
As a high school senior, Maxwell was the state of Florida's Mr. Basketball, as well as being an All-State defensive back in football. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 20.2 points as a senior and still holds 15 Gators records. He left school after four years as the Gators' all-time leading scorer (2,450) and the No. 2 scorer in Southeastern Conference history behind Pete Maravich. He averaged more than 20 points in both his junior and senior seasons, although the University of Florida would erase all the points Maxwell scored in those seasons.
After Florida, Vernon Maxwell's career moved to the NBA. He was a key member of the Houston Rockets' first championship team. Known for his clutch shooting, Vernon Maxwell hit several game-winning shots throughout his career. His defense was tenacious, and he is remembered by many for having kept Michael Jordan significantly below his season scoring averages. Vernon acquired the reputation of being a feisty player. He earned a mention on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1994. Letterman asked his guest, Spike Lee, if there was a similar player on the Rockets who brandished Reggie Miller's manner, to which Spike replied, "Mad Max". During the 1995-1996 campaign with the 76ers, Maxwell contemplated trying out for the football Eagles, harkening back to his exemplary exploits on the high school gridiron. Maxwell's last significant contribution in the NBA was during the 1999 playoffs, playing a pivotal role with the underdog Kings in taking Utah to the series limit.
- 1995: In a game at Portland on February 6, he ran into the stands to punch a fan, later claiming the fan had heckled him over his wife's miscarriage. The NBA suspended him for 10 games (during which Clyde Drexler was traded for). The suspension was the 2nd longest in NBA history at the time.
- 1995: Feigning a hamstring injury, he was given a leave of absence after the 1st game of the playoffs. Maxwell later admitted he was frustrated with not playing. The incident was hyped as Maxwell being disgruntled at the team's recent acquisition of Hall-of-Fame guard Clyde Drexler. His actions led to the Rockets ending his tenure with them.
- ClutchFans.net Profile - Houston Rocket Fan Site
- Career stats
- NBA.com player profile
- Child support
- "'Mad Max' threw away talent and much more" - Column by Hubert Mizell of the St. Petersburg Times