10 Fun Facts About Basketball Legend Thurl Bailey
Across a 16-year career, basketball great Thurl Bailey has built up a lot of highlights. Whether it’s his part in the Wolfpack’s impressive run to the NCAA Championship in 1983 or his incredible unbroken 87-89 golden age, Bailey is a basketball legend to be reckoned with, and he deserves to take his place among the greats of the sport. However, there’s a lot people might not know about this often-undersung giant of basketball. Here are 10 fun facts about Thurl Bailey that you might not have known!
1. He credits Jim Valvano’s unorthodox approach for his success
Speaking to sports betting platform Betway, Bailey attributed his long and successful career in large part to the unorthodox coaching style of Jim Valvano. Bailey recounts a particularly fun anecdote whereby Valvano brought a ladder and scissors onto the court and told the team to simply practise cutting down the nets for two hours. He wanted Bailey and his squad to embody a winning mindset, and Bailey says that despite Valvano’s odd techniques, it worked.
2. He’s won a lot of community support awards
Let it never be said that Thurl Bailey doesn’t give back to his community. Over the course of his career, he’s won a huge amount of community service awards, including from the Utah Association for Gifted Children and the Kennedy Community Award from the mighty NBA itself. He’s also held basketball camps for young people since near the start of his professional career, so he’s someone who’s passionate about getting young and disenfranchised people involved in basketball.
3. He runs a private coaching service
Described as easy, safe, and affordable, Thurl Bailey is one of the people involved in the CoachUp coaching service, which was started back in 2011 and is still running today. CoachUp connects hopeful athletes looking for coaches with the people who can help them to reach the top, and Bailey is one of CoachUp’s coaches. If you’re a basketball player in the Salt Lake City region and you’re looking for basketball coaching, there’s a chance you’ll be paired up with Thurl Bailey.
4. He’s Mormon, but he was raised Baptist
Thurl Bailey’s devout Christianity has never been in doubt, but what some might not know is that he was actually born and raised a Baptist. Growing up in Maryland, Bailey describes his spiritual education as “very good”, but he got involved with the Mormon church during a stint in Europe, when he made friends with Mormon missionaries and converted to their faith. Now, he’s a practicing Mormon, and he finds time for his new faith every single day.
5. He often comments on politics, but prefers to stay out of it
Thurl Bailey is something of a political paradox. While he does often make comments on political issues, including the George Floyd murder and other issues of racial discrimination in the USA, he generally doesn’t like to commit himself to one party or another. He says he wants to use the voting booth to express his opinions rather than to get on his soapbox, and he urges everyone else to do their part as citizens and make sure they vote as well.
6. He gave the first prayer at the 2008 GOP convention
Although he can be something of a political enigma, Bailey has declared support for the Republicans in the past. At the 2008 Republican convention, he gave the opening prayer, urging protection and help for Hurricane Gustav’s victims as well as soldiers and those who had fallen in wars. Bailey’s prayer wasn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it was nonetheless heartfelt, and it silenced the convention hall as all the Republicans present reflected on his words.
7. He grew up in a violent household
Unfortunately, Bailey is no stranger to violent domestic altercations. While he’s an absolute saint himself in terms of his marriage, his parents weren’t quite as harmonious, frequently getting into fights with one another. When he was showing his wife Sindi around his childhood home, he showed her a bullet hole, describing the way in which his mother had attempted to shoot his father. That he managed to transcend these beginnings is impressive indeed.
8. He has a singing career
You might actually have heard some of Thurl Bailey’s music in your time. As well as being a star basketball player, he’s also a singer-songwriter, finding time to release several albums of his music. His voice is rich and smooth; he sings R&B and gospel-style music, so if that’s your bag, it’s definitely worth checking his music out. He’s also performed with the Utah Symphony several times, thus cementing his musical legacy.
9. He’s also an actor
If you haven’t heard Thurl Bailey’s music, then you might have seen him on your screens, because he’s also an actor in addition to being a singer and a community beacon. It’s unfair, isn’t it – some people just get all the talent. He’s starred in productions like the Disney Channel Original The Luck of the Irish and the Biblical epic David and Goliath, as well as documentaries like Thurl: Forward with New Power and Running with the Pack. Is there no end to this man’s talents?
10. He’s an entrepreneur and public speaker
Apparently, no, there is no end to Thurl Bailey’s talents, because he’s also an entrepreneur with his fingers in a lot of business pies. He’s a public speaker who regularly gives addresses on his long and illustrious career, too, so there’s a good chance you might have seen him speak in your time. Audiences respond rapturously to his easy charisma and good humour, so not only is he a stunning basketball player, but he’s also a multipotentialite as well.