Larry Joe Bird (born 7 December 1957) is a retired basketball player from the United States, who played basketball in the NBA, from 1978 to 1992. Bird is one of the recognized basketball players whose accomplishments in the NBA, is still recognized, despite leaving the basketball scene years ago. At the height of his career, Bird created several records and won several trophies which established him as one of the greatest players ever in the sports. In this Larry Bird biography, facts, childhood, career and personal life, we’ll review the life of the retired basketball legend.
Table of Contents
Larry Bird’s Biography Quick Facts, Age
Below are some biography quick facts that you should know about the American retired basketball player/executive.
- Full Name: Larry Joe Bird
- Nickname: The Hick from French Lick
- Born: December 7, 1956
- Age: 67 years old
- Place of Birth: West Baden Springs, Indiana, USA
- Nationality: American
- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
- Height: 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
- Weight: 100 kg (220 lb)
- High School: Springs Valley High School
- College: Indiana State University
- NBA Draft: 1978 (Round 1 Pick 6) by the Boston Celtics
- Position: Small Forward/Power Forward
- League: ABA/NBA
- Kit Number: #33
- Playing Career: 1979 – 1992 (Boston Celtics)
- Father: Claude Joseph Bird
- Mother: Georgia Bird
- Brother: Eddie Bird, Mike Bird, Mark Bird, Jeff Bird
- Sister: Linda Bird Campbell
- Wife: Dinah Mattingly (married 1989)
- Daughter: Corrie Bird, Mariah Bird
- Son: Connor Bird
Larry Bird’s Early Life & Childhood
Larry Joe Bird is one of six children born on December 7, 1956, to Claude Joseph “Joe” Bird and Georgia Bird. His father, Joe Bird is a veteran of the Korean War. His mother, Georgia, had to struggle to raise Larry and his siblings.
When Larry Bird was in high school, his parents divorced and his father thus committed suicide, which led his mother to struggle to raise her children alone. As a child, Larry Bird struggled with emotional turmoils rising from his father’s suicide as well as his family’s poverty.
As a means of escaping the sad reality of his life, Larry Bird, began playing basketball and thus his natural talent for the sports was well developed. Being from a poor background, Larry Bird was very motivated in everything he did, and basketball was included. At Springs Valley High School, his top basketball skill made him stand out and thus he emerged as the school all-time top scorer.
Larry Bird’s College Career & Awards
Larry Bird was offered a scholarship to Indiana University. After a month at the University, he found it overwhelming due to the large population of students and he thus returned to the town he grew up in and went on to attend Northwood Institute which is now known at Northwood University.
After spending a year attending Northwood Institute and engaging in various Municipal jobs, he returned to Indiana University where he played three years of college basketball. During these years, he led the University to their first-ever NCAA tournament. In 1979 he led Indiana to the final of the NCAA tournament but they lost to Michigan State. For his performance, he received several awards notably of which was the Naismith Player of the year award. That year, he graduated from the University, earning a BSc in Physical Education.
Larry Bird’s Professional Career, Achievement & Awards
Boston Celtics (1979–1992)
Bird entered the 1978 NBA Draft and was selected by the Boston Celtics as the draft’s sixth overall pick. He didn’t begin playing for the Celtics immediately, due to his decision to stay a final year in college. The Celtics, in turn, said it wouldn’t pay him more than any player in the rooster. This led to his agent declaring that he’ll enter the 1979 Draft and thus the 1978 Draft rights will expire. He and the Celtics then signed a $3.25 million deal for 5 years which made him the highest-paid rookie in the league at the time.
Subsequently, a rule known as the Bird Collegiate Rule was introduced, which prohibited NBA teams from drafting a player before the player was ready to sign a deal. In his first season in the NBA, Bird established the Celtics as a title contender. Though the Celtics were defeated in the Eastern Conference finals, Larry was named the 1979/80 Rookie of the Year. He also earned the All-Star Team honour in his rookie season.
In his second season in the NBA, he led the Celtics to the NBA Finals where they defeated the Houston Rockets. Bird earned his first NBA Championship, but the Finals MVP title eluded him. In his third season, he won the All-star game MVP and emerged runner-up in the league MVP award. In the 1983/84 seasons, Bird was in amazing form as he won his second NBA Championship. He also won the league MVP as well as the All-star game, MVP.
He repeated his league MVP win in the next two seasons. In the 1986 season, he claimed the NBA Championship for the last time in his career. In the 1987 season, he came close to claiming another Championship, but it evaded him. During the 1980s, Bird and Magic Johnson were in a tough rivalry due to the fact that the Celtics and Lakers regularly met in the NBA Finals. But the two became great friends off the court.
The 1987/88 marked the first season, the Celtics didn’t make it to the NBA Finals in five years. Bird continued playing in amazing form until his last season in the league where he struggled with back issues. In August 1992, Bird retired from the NBA, and his jersey was retired by the Celtics.
Larry Bird’s International Career
In 1977, Bird participated in the World University Game held in Sofia, Bulgaria. He won gold with the US Team. He also participated at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. He was a member of the Dream team which won Gold at the event.
Larry Bird’s Wife, Personal Life
In 1975, Larry Bird got married to Janet Condra. A year after his marriage, he and Condra had issues which almost led to a separation. After an attempt was made to reconcile, Condra gave birth to a child for him. In 1989, he got married to Dinah Mattingly. The couple has two adopted children.
In interviews, Bird revealed that his poor background motivated him deeply as he grew, and still motivates him even after he became rich.
He and Lakers rival, Magic Johnson shared a tense rivalry on the courts, but off the courts they are friends. They both wrote a book entitled When The Game Was Ours.
A man, Eric James Torpy, who was found guilty of robbery and intent to kill, in Oklahoma City, was sentenced to 30 years in prison, but he requested for his sentence to be changed to 33 years in order to match, Larry Bird jersey.
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