when did larry birds dad die

How did Larry Bird’s dad die?

when did larry birds dad die

In February 1975, Joe surprisingly shot himself in the head with a shotgun after a police officer showed up at his home looking for child support. Joe told the officer to return later in the afternoon. According to Indianapolis Monthly, shortly before he took his own life, Joe called his ex-wife to tell her the family would be better without him. Moments after putting the phone down, Joe died by suicide.

Larry’s closest friends remember that the basketball star remained closed off to discussing his father’s passing for many years. Larry has documented his father’s influence, but he hasn’t talked about his passing in public very often. Bird expressed his dissatisfaction with his father’s choice to end his life in a 2015 interview with Indianapolis Monthly, a sentiment that hasn’t altered over the years. Bird remarked, “I kind of always felt like my dad gave up on himself and us kids.” “I still lived with my mother and two younger brothers.” That is how I have always looked at it, both then and now. I handled it pretty good, I think. ”.

Who was Larry Bird’s dad?

Not much is publicly known about Joe Bird outside of his connection to the basketball legend he and Georgia produced. Born in the French Lick town of Indiana, where he raised Larry, Joe was a construction worker who also served in the Korean War. While Joe was proud of the basketball star his son became, Larrys early basketball career wasnt a top priority for him. Larry had said his dad didnt go to many of his basketball games when the Boston Celtics legend played in high school, including when Larry broke the Orange County scoring record. To Joes credit, he did walk from home to the arena where his son was making history because the family didnt own a car, and Larrys uncle called Joe at halftime to implore him to find a way to watch his sons historical performance.

Joe also wasnt the best partner to Larrys mother. Joe and Georgia divorced while Larry was in high school and had an acrimonious relationship, partly due to Joes lateness on child support payments. Joe also suffered from alcoholism and had a hard time keeping a job. In a memoir, Georgias sister, Virginia Smith, spoke about Joes physical abuse, recounting when Joe left Georgia with a black eye while she was pregnant. Larrys relationship with his father was complicated until Joes tragic death while Larry was still in high school.

As for the outline of Bird’s basketball career before the Celtics, Winning Time generally gets that right, too, although the timeline has been fudged. Bird was recruited by Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers, and he did drop out of college after only a month due to the culture shock of moving from a town of 2,000 to a college campus of 33,000 (Bob Knight was also difficult). After spending time in community college and working odd jobs in French Lick, Indiana, Bird was recruited by Indiana State University. Yes, he did wear blue jeans in a scrimmage against the varsity team. He played at Indiana State for three years before losing the national championship to Magic Johnson’s Michigan State. That’s where the rivalry between the two began.

As for Bird’s home life? He grew up in poverty. His father was an alcoholic and Korean War veteran who had fallen on hard times, while his mother was a multi-jobber. Bird’s mother divorced his father the year. Joe Bird told his ex-wife over the phone that they would be better off without him because he was behind on his child custody payments. After he hung up, he shot himself. Joe Bird died in February 1975.

It’s also true that Larry Bird declined to play for the Celtics the year after he was drafted, opting to finish his college career. Before the national championship game, he led ISU to an undefeated season. He also threatened to reenter the draft if he wasn’t compensated appropriately (he received a 5-year, $3.25 million contract — the largest ever for a rookie; compare that to Magic Johnson’s $1 million per year for 25 years after his second year). The NBA changed the rules because of Larry Bird — afterward, teams were not allowed to sign players until they renounced college or until their college eligibility ran out.

Likewise, I didn’t know much about Larry Bird’s journey to the NBA (I’m not a Celtics fan), which took center stage in this week’s episode of Winning Time, perhaps in response to the series’ Larry Bird caricature. I’m not sure this week’s episode humanized him that much, but it did make him more interesting than the racist stereotype depicted previously in the series. Was Bird himself actually racist? There’s no evidence of that, but he did play for a majority white team in Boston, and he certainly benefited from racism.