4. Vernon Maxwell
Vernon Maxwell was one of the key players for the Rockets, as he had the ability to rise to the occasion and drain key buckets during pivotal moments. Maxwell had the clutch gene, as he essentially saved the Rockets’ season during their first championship in the 1993-94 season.
Maxwell also rose to the occasion whenever he faced Michael Jordan and the Bulls, particularly from 1991 through 1993. During those years, Maxwell improved his scoring and his field goal percentage, despite being defended by Jordan and Pippen, who were both viewed as two of the league’s premier defenders.
Maxwell had a mean streak to him, which earned him the nickname “The Mad Max”. This was on display during an incident in which he went in the stands and punched a Portland Trail Blazers fan in 1995, a la Ron Artest. Maxwell has also continued his hatred for the Utah Jazz fanbase, which you likely know if you follow him on Twitter.
If you didn’t know, just take a look at the tweet below, which he has pinned.
I'd like 2 apologize Jazz fans that were offended by my tweets. If I knew u guys had internet in Utah I would've never made those tweets.
— Vernon Maxwell (@VernonMaxwell11) March 9, 2017
Maxwell was also a tenacious competitor. This was also exhibited when he faced Jordan, as he recalled going cheek-to-cheek with MJ and telling him not to put his hands on him.
Like Rodman, Maxwell wasn’t afraid of anyone and he didn’t back down from a challenge. But Maxwell was also like Rodman in a sense that he was a lockdown defender, which was also illustrated when the Houston Rockets faced off against Jordan’s Bulls between 1991 and 1993.
During that stretch, Maxwell keyed in on Jordan defensively and the results were stellar. Jordan’s points and field goal percentage were each lower than his normal averages when facing Maxwell and the Rockets.
Maxwell’s “never back down” trait and his wild behavior were very reminiscent of Rodman, not to mention his excellence on the defensive end of the floor.
Next: No. 3