Remembering Wayman Tisdale: A Sooner Legend

Tim BondCorrespondent IMay 26, 2009

Wayman Lawrence Tisdale was born on June 9, 1964 in Fort Worth, Texas. His father, Louis Tisdale, was a long time pastor of the Friendship Church in Tulsa, OK until he passed away in 1997.


In his early years, Tisdale really did take to the sport of basketball. Sure, he would play pick up games with his older brothers, Weldon and William, but would often quit the games early to go play elsewhere.


It was not until his eighth grade year when Wayman decided to give basketball a legitimate shot in his life.


A product of Booker T. Washington high school, in Tulsa, Wayman decided to go to Oklahoma after he graduated high school.


From 1983-1985, Wayman Tisdale was a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court. He holds the scoring record in a career at Oklahoma.


It stands at 2,661 points in just three seasons. He also holds three of the top six scoring seasons, including the top two spots, in Sooner history.


When it was all said and done at Oklahoma, Wayman held the the school records in scoring, (2,661) rebounding, (1,048) field goals, (1,077) and free throws made (507).


He was also the first three-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year, as well as the first three-time All-American in Oklahoma history.


His life after Oklahoma is just as accomplished. He won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. He also played 13 seasons in the NBA after being drafted No. 2 overall by the Indiana Pacers.


In the NBA, he scored 12,878 points. Grabbed 5,177 rebounds and dished out 1,077 assists. He played for three different NBA franchises in his 13 seasons.


From 1985-1989, he played for the Indiana Pacers. From 1989-1994, he played for the Sacramento Kings, and he finished his NBA career in 1997 with the Phoenix Suns.


Though Wayman Tisdale was able to succeed on the basketball court, his greatest love was not basketball.


It was the art of music.


Wayman was a very talented musician, primarily playing the bass guitar. His first record, Power Forward, was released in 1995 by Motown. He released a total of eight contemporary jazz albums in his music career, with the 2001 release of Face to Face reaching No. 1 on the billboard contemporary jazz charts.


In 2002, Wayman Tisdale was awarded the Legacy Tribute award by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.


In March of 2007, Wayman was diagnosed with cancer, stemming from a fall that broke his leg in February of 2007.


In August of 2008, Wayman Tisdale had part of his right leg amputated in an attempt to stop the spread of the cancer. During a halftime game in September, the Sooner athletic department displayed a video message from Wayman Tisdale affirming he was doing well, and that he was at peace in life.


Even though Wayman suffered so much toward the end of his life, you never see him without a smile. He seemed always at peace with life and with God.


No matter how hard it seemed to get, he continued to smile and inspire.


On May 15, 2009, God decided Wayman Lawrence Tisdale had inspired enough people and suffered enough personally, that He took Mr. Tisdale from this world at the age of 44.


Though he is now gone, he will always and forever be listed among the best Ambassadors, not only for the University of Oklahoma, but for the entire state of Oklahoma as well.