In the 1960s Jerry Lucas was regarded as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time as a result of his work with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Eventually, Lucas went on to have a great NBA career but did something completely different once he left basketball that had a significant impact on people's lives. He wrote two books, The Memory Book and Remember the Word, which helped people improve their memory.
In the 1980s Wayman Tisdale was regarded as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time as a result of his work with the Oklahoma Sooners. Like Lucas, he won an Olympic gold medal. Like Lucas, he had a great NBA career and did something completely different once he left basketball that had a significant impact on people's lives. He recorded a couple jazz albums, most notably Power Forward.
Fortunately, Mr. Lucas is still alive and well. Unfortunately, Mr. Tisdale lost his battle with cancer at the age of 44.
I remember watching Tisdale at Oklahoma and thinking he might be the best power forward ever. Twenty points and twenty rebounds weren't unusual stats for him. When he left the Sooners in 1985 only Patrick Ewing prevented him from being the overall no.1 pick in the draft that season. In 1989-90 he combined with Mitch Richmond to put the Sacramento Kings on the map for the first time since Tiny Archibald in the 70s when the franchise was in Kansas City. He then went to some great years with the Suns before he called it a day in 1997.
As the jazz career was progressing nicely he took a tumble down a flight of stairs in 2007. His life was never the same and came to an end all too soon as cancer was discovered following the examination of his leg following that tumble.
We have your athletic and musical legacy. We now understand you were also a very spiritual man and are in a better place.
Thanks, Wayman Tisdale, for what you gave us on and off the court.