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Craig Bolerjack - Utah Jazz
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Utah Jazz Broadcaster Craig Bolerjack Tells Thurl Bailey Coronavirus Will “Change Everything”

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz television broadcaster Craig Bolerjack joined the Thurl Talk Podcast and told Thurl Bailey that the coronavirus pandemic will “change everything.”

Bolerjack and Bailey were on the call for Utah’s against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, March 11. Seconds before the tip-off was to take place a few feet in front of the broadcasters, the start of the game was halted and the teams were sent back to their respective locker rooms.

Shortly after the jump ball was delayed, the NBA quickly moved to postpone the Jazz vs. Thunder game. Minutes later, reports surfaced that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. After Gobert’s test results came back, the NBA announced that it was suspending the 2019-20 season.

“For the first time in the public mind, that athletes are another level of human being and you know what I’m talking about. Of strength, durability, health and all of a sudden, that whole persona is cracked,” Bolerjack told Bailey as he recalled the experience of that night. “If it could happen to them, it could happen to me, and I really think that’s the lesson here learned too, is that we’re still all vulnerable as humans.”

The following morning on March 12, after the Jazz roster and team personnel were also tested for COVID-19, reports emerged that Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell also tested positive for the coronavirus disease.

“At that high-level Thurl, I sometimes get caught up in that too. I’m like they’ll heal faster than most of us. They won’t get sick and if they had a cold it’s for a day but in reality, I think that hit me too, is that this is going to change everything,” Bolerjack continued. “A high-level performer was taken care of at the highest of levels and we know what Rudy does. He is very in tune to his body and for that to happen to him, I think the lesson that night was and beyond, it can happen to anybody and that’s the lesson I learned.”

“I really believe and I’m trying to think of the right word for it because I think before all of this, in line with what you just said, there are a lot of us including me, that were thinking you know this is at a distance from me,” Bailey responded. “It started in Asia and Italy’s going through it in Europe and you kind of distance yourself from it. You know, it’s going to affect you. So maybe at some level, you don’t take it as serious as you should until it hits home.”

“Those are things that I thought ‘Never, never would I know somebody who would have this,’ but now it’s starting to percolate not just from the elderly but also into the 50s and 40s and 30s and I even hear a young teenage girl is suffering. Now some of these people may have preexisting conditions Thurl, but maybe some don’t and I think the guessing part of it is that you just have to do the right thing right now and as much as it hurts in the way that we live our lives, with so many freedoms and we move as we like,” Bolerjack told Bailey. “This is a real test of how people I think can handle themselves maybe alone and maybe a chance to get to know themselves or even their family a little bit better. All for a reason alright. Everyone’s going to come out of this with a different lesson learned and maybe changed themselves for the better. I hope that’s the case.”

Former Utah Jazz and NBA player Thurl Bailey is the host of the Thurl Talk Podcast. After more than a decade playing in the NBA as Big T for the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves, Thurl has seen a thing or two. And he still has things he wants to learn. He’s a musician, father, husband, and friend and he’s interested in talking with people. That’s what he’ll do each week on Thurl Talk: share his own life experiences and learn from the stories of others. Whether it’s about his life on the court, behind a mic or sitting at the kitchen counter, count on getting to know the real Thurl Bailey and maybe learn a little something from his friends.

Subscribe to the Thurl Talk Podcast here

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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