THURL TALK

Utah Jazz Game Night Host Alema Harrington Relives Jazz/OKC Game Postponement

Jul 22, 2020, 1:17 PM
Alema Harrington - Utah Jazz...
Alema Harrington does a pregame show before the Utah Jazz play the Grizzlies at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City Friday, April 10, 2015. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz Game Night host Alema Harrington detailed the night of March 11 and what he experienced while working the pregame of Utah’s scheduled game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harrington relived the details of the night that suspended the NBA season during a recent episode of the Thurl Talk Podcast with former Jazzman and fellow broadcaster Thurl Bailey.

The two discussed the events of March 11 that began with Utah’s game against OKC being postponed to Jazz center Rudy Gobert testing positive for the coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

“You and I have a very personal perspective on this, right? Because we were on the air. Our broadcast was in some ways what precipitated the entire league being shut down,” Harrington told Bailey. “Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, the diagnosis and everything that transpired at that moment right? And you were with Craig (Bolerjack) on the road. I was with Mike Smith on our set back here in Salt Lake City. We toss out to you guys for the start of the actual game broadcast. Our producers start to freak out a little bit.”

Seconds for the Jazz were scheduled to tip-off against the Thunder, NBA officials met on the court and sent the two teams back to their locker rooms. Shortly after that, the NBA postponed the game.

Harrington said that he and Smith hurried to get ready for TV after expecting themselves to not be back on the air until halftime.

“They (producers) start trying to get us back, myself and Mike, back on the set, mic’d up, and ready in case you guys were going to throw it back to us because there was some uncertainty as to where we were going right,” Harrington said. “I think for listeners out there, they never get tired of hearing some of the behind the scenes things that happen.”

The Game Night host continued by highlighting the uncertainty regarding the virus on that night as well as its impact on Bailey, who was in Oklahoma City on March 11.

“For you and Boler and the rest of the team, you guys had an inside look at some leadership that you got from Quin Snyder and just going through what was I imagine from your perspective, on your side, we were looking at uncertainty. You guys were looking at the possibility of being away from home in a quarantine situation for a minimum of 14 days,” Harrington continued. “I share that with our listeners just as some perspective that you and I have on this that is going to be unique to, you know, the majority of the people that are out there. But you know, from that point on, and I’ve shared this before, where, you know, Mike Smith and I were walking to the parking lot from the arena, from Vivint. We go downstairs, the main floor, and we’re walking out of the building and looking at each other going, like, ‘What just happened?'”

Shortly after the postponement of the game, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the 2019-20 season was suspended and the uncertainty regarding the coronavirus rooted in a little bit deeper.

“I’m like, ‘Is this it? Is the season done?’ Because at that moment, Adam Silver had made the announcement that it was postponed. The season was suspended was the terminology,” Harrington said. “All of us struggle with uncertainty. Like I don’t know what’s gonna happen. And the blessing I think for me in dealing with it was that the life lessons that I’ve learned through my addiction recovery and some of the work that I’ve done personally there is being in full acceptance of not knowing. That doesn’t mean I deal with that perfectly because I don’t. I get panicky. Scared. I can be driven by fear. But I have some tools to be able to say, ‘you know, it’s gonna be okay. Whatever it is, it’s gonna be okay.’

Harrington and Bailey continued to discuss living through the COVID-19 pandemic, Harrington’s childhood, his time as a football player at BYU, and his journey through addiction recovery.

Click here to listen to Bailey’s entire interview with Alema Harrington.

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

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