The Houston Rockets were the only team between 1991 and 1998 to win an NBA championship other than Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls. They did so in 1994 and 1995, led by Hakeem 'The Dream' Olajuwon. He was surrounded by some excellent role players, names like Clyde Drexler, Sam Cassell, Kenny Smith, and Vernon Maxwell. His relationship with Maxwell was a tenuous but fruitful one.
Maxwell and Drexler were instrumental in different playoff runs for the Rockets. Drexler was acquired in 1995 to help the Rockets repeat, and it led to Maxwell becoming quite disgruntled. With his minutes diminished, Maxwell grew frustrated and faked an injury, playing just 1 game before eventually seeing his tenure with the franchise come to an end.
And he had now opened up about what was going on in his head when the situation was playing out. Maxwell has revealed that he does regret leaving the Rockets in 1995 in the way he did.
“I f**ked up… I mean, I was getting ready to get paid. A nice, damn big, nice contract. And back then, $25 million was a big deal back then. All I had to do was sit my a** there. You know, behind Clyde. The man didn’t play me 1 game…
"But like I keep telling these kids. This sh*t is not about the name on the back, it’s about the name on the front of the jersey. They did what they felt like they had to do, they brought in Clyde. I got upset, I went after Game 1, I left before Game 2, and that was the end of the relationship. That was the end of the Houston saga.”
Maxwell does have two rings to his name, but the second one he didn't contribute much to. The NBA is full of stories of players that left franchises they later wished they hadn't. It's a complicated business, but the clarity Maxwell gets from his situation will certainly be helpful for future stars that face these dilemmas during their careers.