But when the player best known for dropping 26 points as a UCLA freshman against Arkansas in the 1995 NCAA title game returns home to Los Angeles, few people are impressed.
"Everybody's like, 'What are you doing now? Why aren't you in the NBA?'" Bailey said. "You get tired of hearing that after awhile. So I'd love to get back one more time and show everybody that I still have it."
The Warriors are providing what may be Bailey's last chance to do that. So far, he's taking advantage as best he can.
Although Bailey -- whose 32nd birthday looms on the calendar in November -- is the elder statesman on Golden State's Las Vegas Summer League team, he is averaging 11.7 points per game on 54.2 percent shooting.
Bailey said he's "twice as good" as he was in his previous NBA stint, which lasted 73 games for the Phoenix Suns from 1998-2000. The most obvious improvement in Bailey's game is in his 3-point shooting. After going 3-for-15 from distance for Phoenix, he's 7-for-9 in three summer-league games with the Warriors.
This marks the first time Bailey has come back to the United States to play since a summer-league stint with the Boston Celtics three or four years ago. That situation was the last in a string of failures that left Bailey disillusioned with the process.
"Even if you do real well in practice, that
The success of Matt Barnes, another UCLA alum, at cracking the Warriors' roster last season after being a training camp invitee helped motivate Bailey's return. Not that Bailey, who was a senior with the Bruins when Warriors point guard Baron Davis was a freshman, is expecting to be carried along by his school ties.
"This is the NBA," Bailey said. "There's no real favorites like that. ... They're not going to keep me around just because I played for UCLA. There's a lot of ex-UCLA players out there."
Perovic getting closer
Kosta Perovic, the Warriors' second-round draft choice in 2006, said the last hangup to his multiyear deal with Golden State is working out the terms of his buyout with his European team, Partizan Belgrade, and that he expects to sign within a week.
The 22-year-old center wouldn't specify how much the buyout could cost but did say it was worth more than the $500,000 the Warriors can contribute to the cause.
"I knew ever since it was my idea to come here that I was going to have to pay from my pocket for a buyout, so it's nothing new for me," said Perovic, who could only look on at the Warriors' optional workout Wednesday because of his contractual status.
Perovic, who was drafted when Mike Montgomery was the Warriors coach, said he succeeded at improving his foot speed over the past year after seeing Golden State's new pace under Don Nelson.
He plans to come back to California -- either to Oakland or Los Angeles -- at the beginning of August to ramp up the work on his game, with emphasis on tightening up his footwork and building upper-body strength.
That means Perovic won't be able to participate with the Serbia and Montenegro national team in the European Championships, scheduled for early September.
That decision angered team czar Dragan Kapicic, who pilloried Perovic and another player who pulled out, calling their choices "a shameful attitude to our nation."
Perovic stood by his decision.
"I told them my story, which is the truth: 'If I want to play basketball on a high level, I have to get prepared for fighting with guys here in the NBA, because the NBA is a bigger challenge than Europe,'" Perovic said. "I have to work on myself and take a risk."
Golden State had been expecting to scrimmage against Portland this morning, but the Trail Blazers canceled the session, so the Warriors will practice instead.
-- Geoff Lepper