Thurl Lee Bailey (born April 7, 1961) is an American retired professional basketball player whose NBA career spanned from 1983 to 1999 with the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bailey has been a broadcast analyst for the Utah Jazz and the University of Utah— in addition to work as an inspirational speaker, singer, songwriter, and film actor.
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.
Bailey was a starter with the Jazz for most of his first two seasons, but with the drafting of Karl Malone, Jazz coach Frank Layden made Bailey one of the first options off the bench. As a result, Bailey had his two finest NBA seasons in 1987-88 (19.6 ppg, played in all 82 games and started 10 times) and 1988-89 (19.5 ppg, 82 games, 3 starts).
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. Bailey holds the unusual distinction of playing 84 combined regular-season games during the 1991-92 season for both teams. He played for almost three seasons in Minnesota 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.