Many people ask themselves a simple question about one of the best basketball players in history: Is Larry Bird gay?
I think that is because in addition to writing a post about openly gay players, I have written more than a dozen articles about Larry Bird and his career with the Boston Celtics.
Between my research for my article on gay NBA players and my extensive knowledge of Larry Bird and his career, I know the answer to the question: Is Larry Bird gay? The answer is no, Larry Bird is not gay.
Read on if you are interested in more information about this question.
Table of Contents
Larry Bird’s BackgroundEmbed from Getty Images
Larry Bird is one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. He was a star coming into the league in 1980.
Bird was born on December 7, 1956, in the small town of French Lick, Indiana. That is one reason why one of Bird’s most famous nicknames is The Hick from French Lick. He actually gave himself the nickname to trick his opponents into taking him lightly.
But French Lick was a small town at the time when Bird was growing up and it still is. Bird was born into a family of six children. His mother’s name was Georgia while his dad was Joe.
Joe Bird was a veteran of the Korean War who drank a lot when Bird was young. Bird’s mother Georgia worked different odd jobs including waitress to keep food on the family table.
Tragically, when Larry was a young adult his father died by suicide. The death obviously had a huge impact on Bird.
By that point he was a basketball star.
Larry Bird’s Basketball Beginnings and First MarriageEmbed from Getty Images
Larry Bird took up basketball as a child but became a star at Springs Valley High School in Indiana.
During his high school years he shot up from a 6’1” sophomore who was a good basketball player to a 6′ 7” senior who averaged more than 30 points and 20 rebounds per game for his high school team.
By the end of his senior season, Bird was recruited heavily by colleges across the state and the country. Being from rural Indiana, there was one offer that everyone in his area wanted him to accept: the scholarship offer he got from the University of Indiana.
The Hoosiers of the University of Indiana were coached by Bob Knight at that point and were at the start of their golden age where they competed for Big Ten and National Championships annually.
Bird had misgivings about moving to Bloomington – the city that IU was located in – and about the style of coach Bob Knight. But he still accepted the offer and enrolled at the state’s flagship university in the fall of 1974.
He made it only 24 days! Bird withdrew and returned home to French Lick. Some reports say he hated Knight. Some say he hated Bloomington. Some say he was still reeling from his father’s untimely death. In any case, his time at IU was brief.
But Bird made a comeback. After spending a year in his hometown, he transferred the next season to Indiana State. He would eventually become a star at the smaller school where fe felt more comfortable.Embed from Getty Images
But before he became nationally famous, Bird married for the first time. In his early days at Indiana State in 1975, Larry Legend married his high school sweetheart Janet Condra.
Not unlike many others who have married at such a young age, Bird and Condra’s marriage did not last. They were divorced after one year.
During a brief attempt to reconcile the relationship, Bird and Condra had a daughter in 1977: Corrie Bird. She is Bird’s only biological child.
Larry did not stay with Condra, but he did become a star at Indiana State.
Bird’s matchup in the national championship game set the all-time record for viewership for a college basketball game and set the stage for their rivalry, which would transform the NBA.
Larry Bird’s NBA Career and Second MarriageEmbed from Getty Images
Bird’s Celtics teams also won three NBA championships in 1981, 1984 and 1986. I have been re watching games from the team’s 1986 run. You can read some of my game recaps here.
That 1986 team is considered one of the greatest teams in the history of the NBA. They featured what is widely considered the best frontcourt in the history of the league with Bird and three other Hall of Fame teammates: Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and Bill Walton.
In addition, the 1986 Celtics starred Hall of Fame point guard Dennis Johnson and future NBA franchise leader Danny Ainge in the backcourt.
But Larry Bird was the clear leader of the 1986 Celtics, as he was for every Celtics team he played on. Bird played with the Celtics from his draft year in 1979 until his retirement in 1992.
It was after his last title but before his retirement when Larry Bird married for the second time. In 1989 Bird married Dinah Mattingly. They are still married to this day. Bird and Mattingly adopted two children together: Conner and Mariah.
After his retirement from the Celtics, Bird returned to Indiana to coach and then lead the Indianaopolis Pacers as team President. He then retired from work for good.
It has been reported that Bird and Mattingly are still going strong. They spend much of their time in Naples, Florida.
Is Larry Bird Gay?
While I have no idea what is in anyone else’s heart and mind, Larry Bird’s life makes it clear that he is not gay.
He has been married to two women: he married his high school sweetheart Janet Condra in 1977 while still in college then married Dinah Mattingly in 1989 while playing for the Boston Celtics.
Bird fathered a child with Condra and adopted two more children with Mattingly. He is still married to Mattingly to this day. All signs point to Larry Bird not being gay.
See My Other Larry Bird Posts
I am not just a writer. I am a fan. A Celtics fan. You can tell by just how many articles I have written about the 1980s Boston Celtics, and Larry Bird in particular. Check them out below!
I wrote about Larry Bird’s defense here. He was better than you think!
I wrote about his college years at Indiana State here.
I wrote about Larry’s time on the Dream Team here.
I wrote about Larry Bird’s draft class here.
I wrote about his rookie season here.
I wrote about his best teammates of all time here.
I wrote about Larry Bird’s prime here.
I wrote about Larry Bird’s Finals record here.
I wrote about Larry Bird’s championships here.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Adapted from: “Bernard Cardinal Law, Larry Bird and Mayor Raymond L. Flynn” by Boston City Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0
I have been a Boston sports fan for more than forty years. I write about games, players and seasons from the past.