larry bird family tree

Larry Bird Family Tree

Through my experience as a sports historian, I've delved deep into the heritage of basketball icons like Larry Bird.

I believe understanding a player's background is key to appreciating their achievements.

Bird's family tree, with roots entwined in the heart of Indiana, reflects a nurturing environment pivotal to his development.

Personally, exploring Larry's familial bonds has enriched my perspective on how off-court lives shape on-court legends.

His parents, Joe and Georgia, and his siblings provided more than just genetic material; they offered a support network that was instrumental in crafting the resilience and determination of 'Larry Legend.'

Key Takeaways

  • Larry Bird's family roots extend deep into the Indiana soil, emphasizing his strong connection to his hometown of French Lick.
  • Larry Bird's parents, Joe Bird and Georgia Bird, played a crucial role in his upbringing, providing a nurturing and supportive environment for his development.
  • The Bird family has a rich athletic legacy, with Larry Bird's NBA career being the most prominent, but also extending to his siblings, particularly Eddie Bird, who followed in his footsteps and played basketball at Indiana State University.
  • Larry Bird's personal life remains largely private, with limited information available about his partners and progeny. However, his family's off-court relatives and their resilience contribute to the Bird family's rich heritage and enduring talent.

Early Ancestry Insights

Peering into the roots of Larry Bird's family tree, you discover that his great-great-great-grandparents include figures such as Samuel Lee Moore and Anna Elizabeth Dixon, anchoring his lineage with a rich historical backdrop.

Joe Bird, Larry's father, was a native of West Baden, born just a stone's throw from French Lick, where the basketball legend would later hone his skills at Springs Valley High School under the tutelage of his high school coach.

The Bird family's struggle was real, with Joe's maternal great-great-grandparents, James Newlin and Deborah Lindley, and Jesse Henson, contributing to that storied history.

Larry, eventually becoming a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, had roots that extended deep into the Indiana soil, setting the stage for his storied career.

Bird's Immediate Kin

Delving into the immediate family of Larry Bird, you'll find that his father, Joe Bird, and his mother, Georgia Kerns, provided the nurturing environment crucial for his early development and later success on the basketball court. Despite the family's struggle with poverty, Larry, the son of Georgia (née Kerns) and Claude Joseph 'Joe' Bird, was raised in a home where the children always came first.

Here's a systematic look at Bird's immediate kin:

  1. Joe Bird, born Claude Joseph, was Larry's father.
  2. Georgia, Larry's mother, faced the family's meager earnings with resilience.
  3. Tragically, Joe Bird committed suicide on February 3, 1975, a hardship that profoundly affected the family.

This close-knit unit laid the foundation for Larry Bird's legendary career.

The Bird Siblings

Focusing on the siblings of Larry Bird, we uncover a trio of individuals: brothers Mark and Mike, and sister Linda, each of whom has carved out their own path while contributing to the Bird family's distinguished narrative. The Birds have faced significant challenges, including the difficulties of Joe Bird, their father, whose battle with alcoholism and personal difficulties ultimately led to his tragic suicide. Despite these hardships, the family's unity and resilience have been a key factor to Bird's success.

MarkConstruction business involvement, supporting the family legacy
MikeCareer in coaching, extending the Bird basketball tradition
LindaMaintaining privacy, yet supporting her brothers
LarryNBA legend, the family's most prominent figure
Joe BirdHis struggles, while heartbreaking, related to the Birds' narrative of overcoming adversity

Joe Bird: A Closer Look

While the Bird siblings have each contributed to their family's legacy in unique ways, it's crucial to understand the roots of their resilience, starting with a closer examination of their father, Joe Bird.

  1. Joe Bird's Lineage: Joe, the son of Georgia (née Kerns) and Claude Joseph, descends from a line that intertwines the Kerns and the Birds. Bird was born into a family with deep ties to Baden and the adjacent areas, where values of hard work and determination were passed down generations.
  2. Bird's Early Influence: Before the NBA spotlight on Larry Birds, Joe's upbringing and character undoubtedly influenced his children. His own father, Claude, instilled in him a tenacity that Joe later echoed to his kids.
  3. Family Relationships: Despite the family's challenges, including when Larry was 18 years, Joe's life story remains instrumental in understanding the Bird family's perseverance and success.

Georgia Bird: Maternal Influence

Georgia Bird's unwavering support and nurturing profoundly shaped her son Larry's character, fostering the resilience and work ethic that became hallmarks of his storied basketball career. Despite being poor as a child, Bird recalled how his mother would make do, her perseverance teaching him invaluable lessons. Georgia (née Kerns) likely suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, compounded by the alcoholism of her husband, yet she remained a steadfast child motivator. Her resolve earned him the nickname "Hick from French Lick," illustrating his gritty determination, much of which he credited to her guidance.

EmotionInfluence of Georgia BirdImpact on Larry Bird
ResilienceProvided stability despite povertyDeveloped unbeatable drive
Work EthicInstilled value of hard workExcelled in basketball and life
DeterminationOvercame personal traumaPursued goals relentlessly
Maternal SacrificeMother would make sacrificesLearned to value perseverance
EncouragementSupported through adversityGained confidence and strength

Dynastic Athleticism

Having explored the profound influence of Georgia Bird's maternal support on Larry's development, let's now consider how the concept of Dynastic Athleticism manifests within the Bird family tree, highlighting a legacy of athletic prowess that spans generations.

Here's how the Bird lineage fits into this phenomenon:

  1. Family Heritage: As an NBA basketball player, Larry Bird's ascent to the Basketball Hall of Fame underscores a lineage steeped in athletic distinction. His career with the Boston Celtics and later role with the Indiana Pacers cements his place in NBA history.
  2. Geographical Richness: Hailing from Indiana, a state known for its fervent basketball culture, Bird honed his skills at Indiana State University before being drafted into the NBA, reflecting his roots in a basketball-loving region.
  3. Collective Narrative: The Bird family's contribution to the sport extends beyond Larry's individual successes as a power forward, embodying a shared story of determination and talent within the realm of men's basketball.

Partners and Progeny

Larry Bird's personal life, particularly his marriage and children, adds another layer to the Bird family's athletic narrative, reflecting how his legacy potentially extends to the next generation.

Born in West Baden, near French Lick, Indiana, Bird, often dubbed the 'Hick from French Lick,' is the son of Georgia (née Kerns) and Claude Joseph Bird. His upbringing, where poverty was compounded by familial struggles, didn't hinder his ascent to becoming an NBA Finals MVP.

Your focus on Larry Bird's professional basketball career might eclipse the fact that his formative years on the French Lick/West Baden's high school team laid his foundation. However, details about his partners and progeny are sparse, highlighting a more private aspect of his life that remains largely outside the public eye.

The Family's Basketball Legacy

Rooted deeply in the hardwood history of Indiana, the Bird family's basketball legacy, spearheaded by Larry Bird's illustrious career, extends beyond his own achievements to include the athletic endeavors of his relatives.

Here's how the legacy unfolds:

  1. Larry Bird's High School Stardom: Before entering the NBA, Larry was a standout player for the French Lick/West Baden high school team, setting the stage for his future success.
  2. Professional Triumphs: Larry Bird's NBA career was marked by rivalry with Magic Johnson, earning him titles such as Rookie of the Year and Valuable Player. His impact on the game made him one of the most revered basketball players.
  3. Family's Athletic Footsteps: Larry's younger brother, Eddie, followed in his footsteps, playing basketball at Indiana State University, perpetuating the family's connection to the sport.

Off-Court Relatives

While the basketball court showcased the athletic prowess of the Bird family, it's through the branches of their family tree that we uncover the off-court relatives who contributed to their rich heritage. Dive into the lineage that shaped Larry Bird's environment, revealing the generations before him with meticulously detailed connections.

AncestorRelation to Larry BirdNotable Information
Claude Joseph ('Joe') BirdFatherServed in the Korean War
Helen Autumn HensonPaternal Grandmother
Samuel B. BirdPaternal Great-Grandfather
Elizabeth Jane NewlinPaternal Great-Grandmother
James HensonMaternal Great-Grandfather

These off-court relatives, including his grandmother who navigated the family's struggles after Joe Bird returned from serving in the Korean War possibly with post-traumatic stress disorder, contributed to the legacy that extends beyond the United States' hardwood courts.

Continuing the Bird Lineage

The Bird family's commitment to basketball extends beyond Larry's storied career, with his younger brother, Eddie, also leaving his mark on the hardwood floors of Indiana State University. The legacy of the Bird family in French Lick, where Larry was once called 'the Hick from French Lick,' continues to resonate in the world of basketball. Here's how the Bird lineage endures:

  1. Eddie Bird's Legacy: Following in Larry's footsteps, Eddie played for the same college, showcasing the family's enduring talent.
  2. Bird Family's Athleticism: With roots in French Lick/West Baden's high, the Birds have been schools all-time scoring leaders, a testament to their natural skill.
  3. Hometown Inspiration: Larry, the son of Georgia (née Kerns) and Claude Joseph, left as the school's celebrated athlete, inspiring generations in French Lick to pursue greatness.

What is the connection between Larry Bird’s family tree and Peter Arrell Brown Widener’s family tree?

The connection between Larry Bird’s family tree and Peter Arrell Brown Widener’s family tree is a topic of interest for genealogists. While Bird is a basketball legend, Widener was a wealthy Philadelphia businessman. Delving into the Peter Widener family tree may uncover surprising connections to other notable individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did Larry Bird Ever Have Any Children?

Yes, you're correct in wondering—Larry Bird indeed has children. He's the father of Corrie, Connor, and Mariah, who've each shared different degrees of the spotlight with their famous dad.

Who Is Larry Bird's Partner in Life?

You're asking about Larry Bird's significant other, right? He's married to Dinah Mattingly, and they've been partners since 1989. She's been by his side, both personally and professionally, for over 30 years.

Who Is Larry Bird's Mom?

Larry Bird's mom is Georgia Kerns Bird, who notably sacrificed to support her family, shaping Larry's successful basketball career from his humble beginnings in French Lick. She's been a pivotal influence in his life.

Does Larry Bird Have a Grandson That Plays Basketball?

You're wondering if Larry Bird has a basketball-playing grandson. The answer is no; there's no public record or mention of any grandchild of his playing basketball professionally or otherwise.


You've traced Larry Bird's roots, dissecting the familial bonds that shaped his life. From Joe and Georgia's nurturing to the camaraderie among siblings, you've seen how each relative contributed to Larry's legacy.

His marriage to Dinah and his children Connor and Mariah add to this rich tapestry. Off the court, the Bird lineage thrives, a testament to the strong family values that bolstered Larry's storied basketball career and continue to echo through generations.