I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of former NBA All-Star Wayman Tisdale after a two year battle with bone cancer. I had no idea he was even sick, and saw him do an interview on ESPN with Bob Knight a few months ago which I found very enjoyable. Watching it you had no inkling that he was seriously ill. However, enjoyable is just the word to describe Mr. Tisdale. He was always smiling, positive, and upbeat.
A very accomplished man, he was an All-American at Oklahoma and a member of the 1984 gold medal-winning US Olympic basketball team coached by Bobby Knight. In 1997, he was the first player to have his jersey number retired by the University of Oklahoma. He was a first round draft pick of the Indiana Pacers in 1985 and had a very successful NBA career scoring almost 13,000 points with three teams over 12 years.
However, the guitar was always his first love, since he began playing in his pastor father's church as a boy. In fact, while at Oklahoma the coach changed the basketball practice schedule from Sunday mornings to Sunday evenings to accommodate Tisdale's playing bass guitar at church. He was primarily a bass player and in 2002 received the Legacy Tribute Award from the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. In his music career he recorded eight albums. At the time of his death, he was working on yet another musical project.
He left us too soon on May 15, leaving a wife and four children. A true example of the American Dream come true. RIP.