Bailey attended North Carolina State University and was a leader in the Wolfpack’s miracle run to the 1983 NCAA Championship. That year, under head coach Jim Valvano, he led the Wolfpack in both scoring and rebounding. The Utah Jazz selected him as the 7th pick of the 1983 NBA Draft. Jazz management reported that he was selected for the quality of his character, as well as the quality of his game. This was the beginning of 16 years of his playing professional basketball, 12 of those years were with the NBA.
On November 25, 1991, he was traded by the Jazz along with a 1992 second-round draft pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Tyrone Corbin. There he played for almost three seasons until 1994, when he left the NBA and played in the Greek League (playing for Panionios) for the 1994-95 season. From 1995 to 1998 he played in the Italian League for Polti Cantù in 1995-97 and Stefanel Milano in 1997-98, before returning to the Jazz as a free agent on January 21, 1999. He retired after the end of 1998-99 season.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes Thurl Bailey
|1995–1997||Polti Cantù (Italy)|
|1997–1998||Olimpia Stefanel Milano (Italy)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||11,834 (12.8 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,718 (5.1 rpg)|
|Blocks||1,086 (1.2 bpg)|