Wayman Tisdale

Last updated
Wayman Tisdale
Wayman Tisdale.jpg
Wayman Tisdale at a CD release party in 2006.
Personal information
Born(1964-06-09)June 9, 1964
Fort Worth, Texas
DiedMay 15, 2009(2009-05-15) (aged 44)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school Booker T. Washington
(Tulsa, Oklahoma)
College Oklahoma (1982–1985)
NBA draft 1985 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Indiana Pacers
Playing career1985–1997
Position Power forward
Career history
19851989 Indiana Pacers
19891994 Sacramento Kings
19941997 Phoenix Suns
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 12,878 (15.3 ppg)
Rebounds 5,117 (6.1 rpg)
Assists 1,077 (1.3 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2009

Wayman Lawrence Tisdale (June 9, 1964 – May 15, 2009) was an American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and a smooth jazz bass guitarist. A three-time All American at the University of Oklahoma, [1] he was elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. [2]

Basketball Team sport

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America, composed of 30 teams. It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world.

Smooth jazz is a genre of commercially-oriented crossover jazz that became dominant in the 1980s and early 1990s.


Early life

Tisdale was born in Fort Worth, Texas. [1] His father, Louis Tisdale, was a well-known pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, serving for 21 years as senior pastor of Friendship Church; [3] After his father died in 1997, the former Osage Expressway in Tulsa was named L. L. Tisdale Parkway in his honor. [4] Wayman's older brother Weldon has been pastor of the church since 1997. [5] [6]

Fort Worth, Texas City in Texas, United States

Fort Worth is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Texas and the 13th-largest city in the United States. It is the county seat of Tarrant County, covering nearly 350 square miles (910 km2) into three other counties: Denton, Parker, and Wise. According to the 2018 census estimates, Fort Worth's population is 895,008. Fort Worth is the second-largest city in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area, which is the 4th most populous metropolitan area in the United States.

Tulsa, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 45th-most populous city in the United States. As of July 2018, the population was 403,035, an increase of 11,129 since the 2010 Census. It is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 991,005 residents in the MSA and 1,251,172 in the CSA. The city serves as the county seat of Tulsa County, the most densely populated county in Oklahoma, with urban development extending into Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner counties.

Growing up, Tisdale was not interested in basketball. When older brothers Weldon and William played pickup games he usually quit before they finished, retreating to the family's sandbox. However, Tisdale began taking to the sport in the eighth grade when he first learned to dunk. [5]

Slam dunk Basketball technique

A slam dunk, also simply dunk, is a type of basketball shot that is performed when a player jumps in the air, controls the ball above the horizontal plane of the rim, and scores by putting the ball directly through the basket with one or both hands above the rim. It is considered a type of field goal; if successful, it is worth two points. Such a shot was known as a "dunk shot" until the term "slam dunk" was coined by former Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn.

He met his future wife Regina in April 1981 at church. They were juniors at different Tulsa high schools, and she did not know he was one of the most heavily recruited basketball players in the country. [5]

Tisdale called music his "first love". Throughout his youth, and continuing through his college basketball career, he played bass guitar at his father's church.

Music and church were so important to Tisdale that after recruiting him to the University of Oklahoma, Sooners head coach Billy Tubbs changed the team's practice schedule. He moved the team's Sunday practice from the morning to the evening to allow Tisdale to play at morning services in his father's church in Tulsa. [5]

University of Oklahoma public research university in Norman, Oklahoma, United States

The University of Oklahoma (OU) is a public research university in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it had existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. In Fall 2018 the university had 31,702 students enrolled, most at its main campus in Norman. Employing nearly 3,000 faculty members, the school offers 152 baccalaureate programs, 160 master's programs, 75 doctorate programs, and 20 majors at the first professional level.

Oklahoma Sooners mens basketball mens basketball team of the University of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Sooners men's basketball team represents the University of Oklahoma in men's NCAA Division I basketball. The Sooners play in the Big 12 Conference.

Billy Duane Tubbs is a former men's college basketball coach. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native has been the head coach of his alma mater Lamar University, the University of Oklahoma (1980–1994) and Texas Christian University (1994–2002). His first head coaching job — from 1971-72 through 1972-73 — was at Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, where his teams were 12–16 and 19–8. From there he went to the University of North Texas to serve as assistant coach under Gene Robbins and for one year under Bill Blakely.

Basketball career

Tisdale graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he grew up. As a college player at the University of Oklahoma from 1982 to 1985, he was a three-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and the first player in collegiate history to be named a first-team All American by the Associated Press in his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons. [7] He still holds the record at Oklahoma for the most points scored by any player through his freshman and sophomore seasons. He won a gold medal as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team coached by Indiana University's Bobby Knight. The Indiana Pacers made Tisdale the second overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft.

Big Eight Conference Mens Basketball Player of the Year award

The Big Eight Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year was an annual basketball award given to the Big Eight Conference's most outstanding player. The award was first given following the 1956–57 season and concluded after the 1995–96 season. From 1960 through 1967 no award was given out. Wayman Tisdale of Oklahoma and Danny Manning of Kansas are the only players to have received the award three times. Manning was also the consensus National Player of the Year in 1988. Six other players won the award twice, last performed by Bryant Reeves of Oklahoma State (1993/95).

Associated Press American multinational nonprofit news agency

The Associated Press (AP) is a U.S.-based not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters.

The 1984 United States men's Olympic basketball team competed in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, representing the United States. The USA's senior men's team, was led by coach Bob Knight, who was also the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers at the time. The team won the tournament's gold medal. It was the last amateur level U.S.A. team to win an Olympic gold medal in men's basketball. The team was considered to be one of the strongest in U.S.A.'s history to that time, as it featured four of the five 1984 consensus first team All-Americans, in Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Wayman Tisdale, and Sam Perkins.

As a power forward, Tisdale averaged over 15 points and six rebounds per game in a 12-season professional career with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns. His best season was in 1989–90 with the Kings, when he averaged 22.3 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Tisdale and Mitch "The Rock" Richmond combined to form one of the most dynamic duos in the NBA. Tisdale retired in 1997 to focus on his musical career.

Tisdale became the first player in any sport to have his jersey number (23) retired by the University of Oklahoma in 1997. [7] When Blake Griffin was granted permission to wear it during his career at OU (2007–2009), he sought and received Tisdale's blessing before accepting it.

The outstanding freshman award in the NCAA is named the Wayman Tisdale Award. [8]

Music career

Wayman Tisdale and Dave Koz at the Dave Koz & Friends Smooth Jazz Cruise 2006. Wayman Tisdale & Dave Koz.jpg
Wayman Tisdale and Dave Koz at the Dave Koz & Friends Smooth Jazz Cruise 2006.

Tisdale launched his music career with Power Forward in 1995 on the Motown Label. Primarily a bass player, he recorded eight albums, with the 2001 release Face to Face climbing to No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. [9] He was awarded the Legacy Tribute Award by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2002. In an ESPN internet chat Tisdale said his musical influences included the funk bands of the 1970s. [10] His most recent release (and his final album before his death), Rebound, was written and released after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer diagnosis

In March 2007, Tisdale underwent treatment for cancer in his knee (osteosarcoma), which was discovered after he fell down a flight of stairs at his home in Los Angeles on February 8, and broke his leg. [11] In May, Tisdale announced on his website that he was recovering from a procedure to remove the cyst, and expected to recover 100%. [12] He and Regina agreed not to tell their four children about his diagnosis until the fall of that year, when the entire family was together (their oldest daughter lives in Atlanta and their second-oldest was attending college at the time). However, the first round of chemotherapy was unsuccessful, leading to a second round. As Tisdale recalled later, "The doctor had never given anyone chemo that was my size. They just calculated how much chemo to give me and said, 'We hope it doesn't mess up your kidneys. If it does, sorry." [5] He drew on some of the challenges he faced during his basketball career to battle the disease, specifically recalling, "I had some coaches that literally didn't want me to make it, and one in particular was Bobby Knight. At the time I frowned on that … I look at it today that had I not persevered through a lot of the stuff he put me through, I probably wouldn't be here today. I thank God for that dude because he pushed me." [5]

In August 2008, Tisdale had part of his right leg amputated because of the bone cancer. [11] On his web site, Tisdale said removing a portion of the leg would be the best way to ensure that the cancer would not return. [13] In a video message at halftime of a September 28 Sooners' football game, Tisdale affirmed he was doing well and that he was at peace following the operation. [14]

Shortly after the operation, he was fitted for a prosthesis. Scott Sabolich, the clinical director, said that in his 21-year career he had never created a prosthesis as large as the one he had to design for Tisdale. Sabolich noted that it typically takes a new amputee from three to six months to acclimate to a prosthesis, while it took Tisdale a month. He proved to be equally quick in learning to walk on his new limb; a physical therapist Tisdale worked with in Tulsa said that he was months ahead of a typical patient in that respect. Tisdale's experience led him to establish the Wayman Tisdale Foundation [15] to raise funds to help amputees with the prosthetic process, which is not always covered by health insurance. [5]

In April 2009, Tisdale accepted an award from the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, then set off on a 21-date national concert tour. [16]


Tisdale died on May 15, 2009, at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, where his wife had taken him when he had trouble breathing. She later confirmed that he died after his esophagus ruptured following radiation treatments for his cancer. [17] Tisdale's agent described his death as a "great shock" and noted that Tisdale had been planning to go into the recording studio the following week for a project with jazz guitarist Norman Brown. [18]

On May 21, 2009, 4,000 mourners attended Tisdale's memorial service at the BOK Center in Tulsa. [19] In June 2009 the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa announced that its new specialty health clinic in north Tulsa would be named in Tisdale's honor. [20]

According to the liner notes, Toby Keith's 2009 album American Ride is "dedicated in memory of Wayman and Noel McFarland." The album includes the song "Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)", a tribute to Tisdale featuring Keith, Dave Koz, Marcus Miller, and Arthur Thompson.

The song "Bright" by guitarist Peter White (Good Day, 2009) was dedicated according to a note in the album sleeve "to the memory of Wayman Tisdale, whose spirit never failed to brighten our lives." White said: "The guy was always so happy, so positive, always had a smile, always made you feel great. Even before his death, I'd always called this song 'Bright,' because it sounded uplifting and happy and funny. Then I realized that it would be the perfect song to dedicate to Wayman, because that was the way he came across to the world." [21]


See also

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  1. 1 2 "Tulsan Wayman Tisdale dies", Tulsa World , May 15, 2009.
  2. "College Hall of Famer Tisdale dies at 44", ESPN.com, May 16, 2009.
  3. "Rev. Tisdale Dies Of Heart Attack", Tulsa World , March 29, 1997.
  4. Curtis Killman,"Mayor Unveils New Tisdale Parkway", Tulsa World , June 10, 1997.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Clemmons, Anna K. (2008-12-03). "Tisdale's biggest rebound comes after loss of leg to cancer". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
  6. "Our Pastor" at Friendship Church official website (retrieved May 18, 2009).
  7. 1 2 "Wayman Tisdale Passes Away - SoonerSports.com - Official Athletics Site of the Oklahoma Sooners". SoonerSports.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  8. "Wayman Tisdale Award". Access-sports.net. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  9. "Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Albums, week of November 3, 2001". Billboard Magazine . Archived from the original on May 21, 2009. Retrieved May 17, 2009.
  10. "Chat with Wayman Tisdale". Proxy.espn.go.com. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  11. 1 2 Jenni Carlson, "Wayman Tisdale has part of his leg amputated", The Oklahoman , August 28, 2008.
  12. "Fall down stairs leads to discovery of cancerous cyst". Sports.espn.go.com. 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  13. "Tisdale has part of leg amputated to stem bone cancer". Sports.espn.go.com. 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  14. "Tisdale says he's doing well after surgery in video message to Sooners fans". Sports.espn.go.com. 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  15. http://www.waymantisdale.org Wayman Tisdale Foundation
  16. Bill Haisten, "Tisdale hits the road: Ex-Sooner star says he's beaten cancer, kicks off national tour", Tulsa World , April 17, 2009.
  17. "Love and grief: A year later, Regina Tisdale continues to mourn the loss of her husband, Wayman". tulsaworld.com. 2010-05-09. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  18. Alan Duke,"Wayman Tisdale, basketball star and musician, dies", CNN.com, May 15, 2009.
  19. "Thousands gather in downtown Tulsa to honor Tisdale", Tulsa World , May 21, 2009.
  20. Shannon Muchmore, "Tulsa health center to be named after Tisdale; OU athletics give $3 million to academics", Tulsa World , June 24, 2009.
  21. "Peter White - Good Day". Smooth-jazz.de. Retrieved 2013-03-26.