Houston Rockets: Remembering Mad Max (Vernon Maxwell)

By Phillip Pyle

The Houston Rockets are known for their legacy at the center position, but the shooting guard position is also full of noteworthy players. James Harden, joins Clyde Drexler, Tracy McGrady, Mike Newlin, Mario Elie, and Mad Max, Vernon Maxwell.

Talented, but unstable shooting guard Vernon Maxwell spent the first-half of the 1990s as a starter for the Houston Rockets. Maxwell averaged 14.9 points, 4.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 402 games with the Rockets. He was a major contributor to the Rockets’ 1994 NBA Championship and he won a ring with the team in 1995 as well, despite becoming a non-factor following the Drexler acquisition. Maxwell owns the Rockets’ franchise record for three-point baskets with 730.

Maxwell first earned the nickname Mad Max for his clutch 3-point shooting, and some of his off-the-court antics made it stick. There were moments when Maxwell would play at nearly Hall-of-Fame levels. He was also one of the few NBA players at the time that had the ability to get under Michael Jordan’s skin.

His off the court accolades are up there with the finest of them, often setting precedents for a future generation. In 1995 he ran into the crowd in Portland and assaulted a fan resulting in a 10 game suspension by the NBA. The artist formerly known as Ron Artest is the gold standard for crowd brawls, but we can not give Mad Max enough credit for being a pioneer in the industry. The next step was to pull something even Shawn Kemp and Travis Henry thought was out of bounds, knowingly infecting a women with herpes. Promptly Maxwell lost $592,000 for this stunt.

Maxwell holds the Houston Rockets record for most 3-pointers made in a season from 1991-1993.

Here is video evidence of Mad Max going mad. One of the eight 30+ point quarters by a player in NBA history.