RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It was just eight days ago when our thoughts about coronavirus changed dramatically.
The Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder were set to play in an NBA match-up. It was there, where one of the Jazz players tested positive. The fallout sent shockwaves across the sports world.
And North Carolina State University great Thurl Bailey, who is also the current Utah Jazz color analyst, had a front-row seat to it all.
”I was actually in Oklahoma City with the Jazz when the dominos kind of fell. Rudy (Gobert) tested positive and we were all quarantined and went through the whole thing, but it was an education,” Bailey said.
It’s a lesson Bailey and most of the world wasn’t prepared for.
As the stadium emptied and everyone affiliated with the Jazz was quarantined and tested for coronavirus, the news began to spread. Leagues began to cancel seasons.
And reality began to set in.
“You’re in the quarantine room even before testing for hours — not knowing. So I’m talking to my family basically trying to fill them in on why we’re sitting here. Why the game has been called off and what that means for me and us as a family,” Bailey remembered.
Bailey was one of the lucky ones. He tested negative for the virus but he also says the negative feedback Rudy Gobert got for making light of the coronavirus situation in a press conference days prior to testing positive is something that could have happened to anyone.
“I know Rudy took some punishment for not taking it serious as he probably should have when he didn’t know he had it. But I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it was really inevitable. It was gonna happen. It was just a matter of who,” Bailey said.
Bailey is a man of faith and continues to count his blessings. He is also aware of how a simple game of basketball or baseball can bring a struggling country back to its feet.
No one knows when the games will continue but when they do Bailey has no doubt about the impact it will have.
“They will continue to bring us together,” Bailey said. “They will be the things that we call upon after we push through this. To give people an outlet.”
We will have more with Thurl Bailey on Saturday as CBS 17 shows the 1983 NCAA Tournament Championship game.
Bailey talks about the pass he made to set up the shot that won N.C. State the title. And how that game, his coach and that team lives forever in NCAA Tournament history.
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