Dinah Mattingly – The Woman Behind the Success of Larry Bird

Hall of Famer Larry Bird is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of basketball, and arguably the greatest Boston Celtics player. He was drafted sixth overall by the Celtics in …

Dinah Mattingly

Hall of Famer Larry Bird is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of basketball, and arguably the greatest Boston Celtics player. He was drafted sixth overall by the Celtics in the 1978 draft and spent his entire career in Boston. Do you know the saying, behind every successful man there is a woman supporting him? Well, in this case, that is Dinah Mattingly.

How much do you know about her? The Hall of Fame basketball player has done a spectacular job of keeping his personal information private. And unlike some athletes who lead a public life, Bird and his celebrity spouse have done the opposite.

Married since 1989, they have two children together, Conner Bird and Mariah Bird. Let’s find out more about the Bird family.

Who is her famous husband?

Born Larry Joe Bird in December 1956, in West Baden, Indiana, he is an American basketball player, executive, and coach. While the older generation remembers Bird as the Larry Legend, the one who led the Boston Celtics to three championships, the younger remembers him as the coach and executive of the Indiana Pacers.

Born in December 1956, he was the fourth of six children of his parents Joe Bird and Georgia Bird. Born in a small village, outside the larger town of French Lick, Indiana, his village of West Baden had a population of two thousand people.

The larger town of French Lick was famous for the mineral springs that people visited back in the day when Bird was a youngster. The family lived poorly, with his father finding factory work in the town to provide and make ends meet.

During his childhood, Larry and his brothers played all sorts of sports, including baseball and softball. It wasn’t until high school that Bird settled on basketball as his primary sport. Yet, once he realized his potential and ability to excel in basketball, he began to practice day and night.

In one interview, he said, “I played when I was cold and my body was aching and I was so tired. I don’t know why, I just kept playing and playing. I guess I always wanted to make the most out of it”.

During his high school years in Indiana, he sharpened his skills. He began playing guard during his sophomore and junior years. At the time, he showed no great ability, and standing at 6 feet 3 inches, he was not especially tall.

Yet, by his senior year, he grew four more inches and became an impressive physical specimen. At the same time, he retained his ability to move quickly and drive. Many universities wanted him for their team, but he decided to stay home and entered Indiana University.

Yet, he managed to stay only 24 days there, as he felt uncomfortable about the size and lack of emotion of the school. He would return to French Lick and enter junior college there. Within two months, he dropped out of that college as well.

He would return to Indiana State University, where he revived the basketball program. Larry led the team to a 33-1 record in his senior season, finishing with a loss to Michigan State University in the NCAA championship game. That was the first meeting of Bird and Magic Johnson, a rivalry that would revive the National Basketball Association as well.

Bird was drafted by the Celtics after his junior year in 1978, but didn’t play professionally until the 1979-80 season.

He would go on to spend his entire career with the Celtics. He called himself “hick from French Lick”, and cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players in NBA history.

Famous for his unflappable confidence and clutch shooting ability, he led the Celtics to three NBA championships. From 1984 to 1986 he won three consecutive Most Valuable Player awards, the only player in modern history to do so. He also won two Finals MVP awards.

After the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where he was part of the dream team alongside Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and more, he retired.

Following his retirement, he moved to a front-office position with the Celtics but quickly moved from that as well. He joined the Indiana Pacers as a head coach, and later as an executive.

To this day, he remains one of the most lethal players, famous for his trash talk.

Quick Bio

Now let’s take a look at Dinah Mattingly Bird, the celebrity spouse that has been by Larry’s side since his early days. She deserves a lot of credit for the success of the basketball star.

Born and raised in Vigo County, Indiana, United States, she grew up with one sibling, her brother Doug Mattingly. She is an American national of white ethnicity.

Born in November 1954, she is two years older than Larry Legend. Dinah gained prominence for being the wife of the famous basketball player.

There is little info about her early life and educational background. We do know she also attended Indiana State University.

Here is a fun fact. While she shares the same surname and comes from Indiana State as Don Mattingly, she is not related to the American baseball coach.

Marriage to Larry

Dinah is not the first wife of Larry Legend. Before he met her, he was married to Janet Condra, his high school sweetheart. Larry and Janet got married in 1975, but their marriage ended in less than one year. They tried to reconcile in 1977 when their daughter Corrie Bird was born, but that was not possible.

Larry and Dinah also met in the 1970s at Indiana State University. They were undertaking their undergraduate studies there.

But while they knew each other from the 1970s, they connected in the 1980s, and eventually tied the knot in 1989. They have been married for more than three decades.

Do they have children?

Dinah Mattingly and her famous husband do not have any biological children together. They do have two adopted children, their son Conner Bird, sometimes called Connor Bird, and their daughter Mariah Bird.

Dinah is also a stepmother to Corrie, Larry’s child from his first marriage. Of their two adopted children, Conner is the troublesome child. He was once arrested for trying to hit his girlfriend with a car.

Their second child, their daughter Mariah Bird, works as a cheerleader. She is responsible for cheerleading activities for Pacers Sports and Entertainment. Her job is to organize cheering, dancing, and chanting to support sports team matches.

Helping Larry mend relationships

As we said before, Dinah has played a crucial role in Larry’s life. She was also the one that helped him mend his relationship with his first daughter, Corrie.

Over the course of his career, Larry had little contact with Corrie, his daughter from his first marriage. In the early 1990s, the teenage daughter reportedly wrote a letter to her father asking to attend his retirement ceremony in Boston. But according to reports, Bird ignored the letter.

A few years later, she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and revealed her father was not part of her life.

Yet, after he became the coach of the Indiana Pacers, things changed. His wife Dinah gave tickets for a game to Corrie, and she seemed to reconcile her relationship with her father.

For his part, Bird has said the turbulent relationship with his former wife is the reason for being uninvolved in Corrie’s life.

Is she on social media?

Dinah is trying to lead a private life and stay away from the media spotlight. You will not find a profile by her name on social media platforms, including Instagram or Facebook. The same applies to her husband.

As we said before, Larry and Dinah Bird are a different kind of couple. They do not want the spotlight. Even he doesn’t have a profile on Instagram.

Net Worth

While Dinah attended University and probably tried to have a career, we can assume that after the success of Larry, she was the one to sacrifice. We know nothing of her career and can assume she was a housewife that kept the household together.

Luckily, Larry was quite successful in his career. As of June 2023, he has a net worth of more than $75 million.

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