Bailey went on to accept a basketball scholarship at North Carolina State and was a member of the Wolfpack’s 1983 NCAA national championship team. He spent 11 years in the NBA before playing professionally in Greece and Italy. He is grateful to have been coached by “fantastic leaders” like Jim Valvano, Frank Layden, Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson and others.
He never would have met them, however, without the guidance and mentorship of his junior high coach, Michael Cole.
Bailey was cut from his seventh- and eighth-grade teams. The coach at the time told him, he "didn’t have what it took to be a basketball player,” Bailey said.
Bailey admits he knew little about the game then, but he idolized Julius “Dr. J” Erving and knew he wanted to be a basketball player.
As Bailey was going into ninth grade, the coach who cut him left and Cole was named the new coach. Bailey considered not trying out but decided to give it another shot. He was glad he did. Not only did he make the team, but also Cole committed to work individually with him for an hour before and after practice.
“Could I play? I was 6-foot-9, size 15 shoes and just tripping over everything. Coach Cole kept me on the team. It was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me. But in reality, I knew I wasn’t very good,” Bailey said with a smile. “That’s when it began for me. Coach Cole was a guy who saw some potential in me and helped me to start on that journey.”
Recently, Bailey has been inspired by a famous talk by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt titled “Men in the Arena.” He wants to share the message and hopefully inspire other men to be better husbands and fathers.
“This is not just for myself, but for other men in general, to wake up and step up in the arena,” Bailey said. "I call those ‘Arena Men.’ ”
Email: email@example.com Twitter: tbtoone
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