An interview with Tyrese Maxey: Discussing trust, Paul George, and much more

Sixers 76ers Maxey
Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) shoots against the Utah Jazz during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Fresh off the heels of his newly signed four-year, $204 million contract, Philadelphia 76ers star Tyrese Maxey sat down with Philly Sports Network and Metro Philadelphia to discuss his new deal, the team’s offseason additions, and his partnership with the car-sharing company Turo:

“Partnering with Turo has been great,” Maxey said. “Honestly, I think Turo has been amazing. I was telling this story earlier, just about how it’s funny how things come in full circle. My mom used Turo for my little sister’s prom or one of those dances. It’s just funny because I also used car rentals when I was, trying to go to LA and different things, but Turo is different. I feel like this is an amazing idea, and it’s something that people should really know about, and people should learn more information about.”

Maxey and Turo are set to give one fan a once-in-a-lifetime experience, featuring a one-on-one game of HORSE with Tyrese, which he assured me he would not lose. The first fan to book Maxey’s custom-wrapped Range Rover will get the keys straight from Maxey himself, take him on in a game of HORSE, and enjoy a two-night stay at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, dinner for two at Buddakan, shopping at Lapstone & Hammer, lunch at Ishkabibble’s, an afternoon at Top Golf, and a deluxe gift bag from Tyrese and Turo.

“One of my biggest things is always trying to give back to the community and give back to families,” Maxey said. “I feel like we’re doing this, we’re going around, playing a little one-on-one, playing a little horse. I think it’s a really genuine thing because, for me, I like to shed light on people, bring light on people, as far as brightening up their days. I think I can, I can do that with this man, not just brighten up their day, but maybe brighten up someone’s week. And, you know, going around in Philadelphia, seeing the fans, and speaking to them and creating those connections, it’s gonna be great.”

Maxey spoke on his connection to Philadelphia and, more specifically, his relationship with the hard-working people of the city:

“The city of Philadelphia and myself have a direct correlation as far as we worked for everything that we’ve gotten. The people who come to Philadelphia games, that’s why they’re so passionate, because they work extremely hard for those tickets. They’re genuine fans. They want to see us do well. They want to see us perform at the highest level. And because of that, I feel like I work extremely hard for everything that I’ve earned in this life, and not just in this life, but in the basketball space in general. So that’s where that connection comes in with the fans. This will be another great opportunity to do some of that.”

It’s clear that Maxey holds the city in special regard as the city does of him. There are more than two characters in this tale of appreciation, as the Sixers have clearly shown they appreciate Maxey, as seen by his new deal.

Maxey’s recent extension, as deserved as it is, was also a bit of a surprise. Not in the sense that he would be offered a max contract ahead of his fifth season in the NBA, but because it was kind of a bit of an unusual path in the sense that he worked closely with the team, not only to get that deal done but to exhibit patience with the completion of the deal so the team could pursue other interests to pair alongside Maxey and Joel Embiid.

Simply put, that’s not something most players have historically been willing to do, as many have seen with James Harden’s departure from Philadelphia and, admittedly, even Paul George’s defection to Philly from Los Angeles.

In the case of Tyrese Maxey, he put his trust in the team and its president of basketball operations, the same man who, less than a year ago, was blasted internationally, being proclaimed a liar by a player he had held a close relationship with.

To the credit of both the Sixers and Morey, the team rewarded Maxey, as they should have. As far as what allowed Maxey to showcase that level of faith in Philadelphia Maxey spoke of the trust he’s built with the organization:

“I think the biggest thing was one trust, and then the second thing is like they trusted in me. They gave me an opportunity to come to the 76ers and the opportunity to play on this winning franchise, in a win-now situation as a young player. I wouldn’t say I was unproven, but I wasn’t able to perform at the highest level that I was able to perform in college. Some games I did, some games I didn’t shoot the ball very well, but they took a chance on me. They took a chance on me at 21.”

Maxey also made sure to credit those who had helped spurt his development as a player:

“Doc [Rivers] will say he gave me opportunities to play. Certain situations happened to where I was thrown into a bigger role [in] my second year, and because they believed in me, they didn’t go out and try to replace me or anything, I got to play through some of my mistakes. And I really grew from that, and I appreciate them for that. I think it’s been a great partnership overall. I really do appreciate ownership for believing in me from day one.

Finally, as he did at the Maxey Museum, Tyrese mentioned Joel Embiid as one of his biggest supporters, stemming all the way back since the guard’s beginning with the franchise:

“I always tell everybody it’s crazy. When Joel Embiid is your biggest supporter from day one, you know you have a good supporter. We know Joel. We know how Joel is, and he’s been someone who believed in me since day one. So, I appreciate him, and I appreciate the organization.”

Maxey’s new deal wasn’t the only notable contract signed in Philadelphia. The Sixers made headlines with their previously mentioned addition of Paul George.

“I think my first reaction was like, man, now Paul will have an opportunity to win a chance at driving this Toro car and having a one-on-one game with me in horse.” Maxey joked.

PG is great. I don’t know him too personally; I just kind of talked to him, [said] congratulations, and told him I’m excited to work with him, but I think he’ll fit right in with the team.

On that fit, Maxey mentioned several areas where Paul George would expectedly make an impact for the Sixers next season:

“He’s somebody who can play on the ball and off the ball; he can shoot threes, athletic, play in transition, guard different players, rebound the ball, and the list goes on and on. Him being able to do that is going to help us a lot because we need creation around Joel as a supporting cast, myself, him now, Kelly, our job is to make Joel’s job easier, and I feel like we could do that.

Speaking of Kelly Oubre, the Sixers re-signed him to a two-year deal in addition to adding George. Many noticed the impact Oubre made last season in Philadelphia, not only on the court but off as a competitor who was always ready to put the team and his teammates first. Maxey spoke on what it meant to him personally to have Kelly back for another season of work:

“First of all, I appreciate K-9 (Oubre) coming back. I think the biggest thing for me, having Kelly back, was his toughness, how hard he played, how he bought into his role, and how he really embraced, the city of Philadelphia, really embraced winning. He was going out there every single night and guarding elite guys. He guarded Jalen Brunson in the playoffs. He guarded Jason Tatum when we played the Celtics. He was the guy guarding those guys.”

Maxey continued, “We appreciate him for that. When guys were down, and guys were hurt, he stepped up offensively. So Kelly Oubre has done a really good job of marketing himself, and he was rewarded with a good deal, and we’re happy to have him back.”

Of course, it’s not just about veteran addition and retention for Philadelphia this offseason. The Sixers also added Jared McCain, who has drawn comparisons to Maxey due to their scoring ability despite being undersized and always sunny dispositions.

I asked Maxey about his impressions of his new rookie, to which he replied, speaking of McCain’s nice but killer nature:

“Just going out there, trying to get to know him. I’ve heard great things about him. The best about him is, like you said, he has a very joyful personality. That’s always great to be around. And then he’s a fierce competitor. When you get past all the laughs and the smiles, he doesn’t like losing, and you need guys like that on your team, no matter what age those guys are. Somebody who is ready to step up. He went to a school like Duke, where he played in big games, played in big moments. I’ve seen him play AAU-wise; he’s no stranger to the bright lights, and we’re gonna need something like that.

Maxey also spoke on what he wanted to pass down to McCain during his rookie season:

“I’m just gonna try to help him, man, help him be as successful as possible. And we’re gonna need them. We’re gonna need everybody. What a lot of people don’t understand is that when you’re putting a championship team together, it’s one through 17. Every guy plays a role. Everybody.”

Maxey then compared what McCain could bring to the Sixers to what Peyton Pritchard did for the Celtics during the 2024 NBA Playoffs:

“Somebody’s gonna have to step up, whether it’s a regular season game, somebody gets thrown in there in a playoff to make a shot, like we saw with Payton Pritchard. He maybe didn’t play 30 minutes a game, but he played ten minutes, and he goes in, he hits two threes, two deep threes, and that changed the game. And that’s, that’s deflating to a team. A guy comes in off the bench and hits a 50-footer going into halftime; everybody’s dropping their shoulders. So I think that he’ll be great for us.”

Maxey then joked, “I think that he will have a good opportunity to go out there, put his name in, and get to a raffle on this Toro.”

Extremely excited. The biggest thing is, you got to go out there. You have to mesh. It can look great on paper, all you want. There’s a lot of teams in NBA history who looked amazing on paper and went out there and accomplished nothing. So, when we get out there, whenever we start working, training, camping, whatever we have to do, the biggest thing is going to be, maybe not even just on the court, but off the court. Finding ways to come together. Doing different things to make sure personalities mesh. Make sure that we like each other, and we’re able to play on the court together, and know we have each other’s back.

The Sixers have, at times, seen less-than-stellar team chemistry over previous years. In Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid, the team has its best duo with the highest level of chemistry in the post-Process era. Now, it just comes down to adding the complimentary pieces to that chemistry stew.

Maxey continued saying. “When you do that, you have everybody step in the same direction. Everybody, this is what we’re here for. We’re here to win. We’re gonna win the championship. No one has, you know, individual motives; that’s going to be a big thing for us. I think the guys that they are bringing in so far, they’ve done things. Thankfully, PG has been an All-Star. He’s been in the MVP conversation. [Embiid] has won an MVP. Andre Drummond was an All-Star. The list goes on and on. Kelly has been great. We know that we can, and we know that these guys are individually great, but can we come together effectively and do something special?

It’s clear that Tyrese Maxey is looking to form a partnership with his teammates as tight as his own with Turo. Reliable, dependable, trusted; these are the building blocks to success and for Tyrese Maxey and the Philadelphia 76ers, quite possibly the keys to an NBA Championship.