After an off-season where he attended a Phillies game, banged the pregame drum at a Union match, and used Zoom to surprise a young fan who didn’t want to see him get traded for Kevin Durant, Maxey expressed why he connects so well with the city he plays in.
“I think it’s the work ethic,” Maxey said at Sixers Media Day ahead of training camp in Charleston, South Carolina.
Maxey has developed a reputation as a tireless worker, someone who is in the gym at hours that many players aren’t.
“The City of Philadelphia is such a blue-collar city,” Maxey said. “Everybody here that goes to games or that I see around town, they work extremely hard for what they have.”
He said when you work that hard, you cherish it.
“I really firmly believe that, because I worked extremely hard to get where I am today. Nothing was given to [Philadelphia]. Nothing was given to me.”
Maxey explained when he was in eighth grade, he made a list of goals – attending Kentucky, being a McDonald’s All-American and becoming a first-round pick in the NBA Draft.
“When you tell people that in eighth grade, they’re looking at you like you’re crazy,” he said. “Once you set your mind to it, it is what it is and you go after it.”
Maxey, an exciting 21-year-old, is entering his third season with the team and second as a starting guard.
Last season, amid the Ben Simmons drama, Maxey’s play took a huge leap. He started 74 of 75 games and averaged 17.5 points and 4.3 assists per game. It resulted in him being named an NBA Rising Star and leading President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey to say he can be an All-Star one day.
So, the question lies: What are Maxey’s expectations for his third season? He won’t put any on himself because he doesn’t want to make it about himself.
“Coach Doc [Rivers] said something in the locker room recently and it’s ‘This is a "we" season, not a "me" season.’ This season’s going to be all about us as a group and as an organization,” Maxey said.
Rivers didn’t want to set individual expectations for any player either, but he did admit he had to ask Maxey to stay out of the gym “many times” so he could shut it down and not overdo it.
“Man, it’s hard to shut a guy down like that,” Rivers said. “It really is.”
Rivers said no one outworked Maxey, third-year big man Paul Reed and defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle this off-season.
“They’re young,” said Rivers, “and you kind of let them do it.”