Wayman Tisdale, 44, Dies from Cancer

dEDGE Post Scriptum

Former NBA player, Wayman Tisdale, succumbed this morning from complications with a two-year battle with cancer. Just over a year ago, he had his right leg amputated above the knee in an attempt to rid himself of the cancer. His physical therapist was amazed at his quick adaptation to his new prothesis, which was crimson red and emblazoned with the OU logo. Typically, patients require 3-6 months before they are comfortable with their new leg. For Tisdale, he was acclimated in a month. His clinical doctor commented at the time that he had never created a prothesis so large as the one he designed for Tisdale. Never one to allow himself to get down, Tisdale will be remembered more for his bright outlook on life and his never ceasing smile. Even in light of his battle with cancer, Tisdale preferred to remain focused on the good things in life, rather than dwell on his own plight. He was a crusader that never stopped giving and always found the time to spend with others. His experience led to the development of a foundation to generate funds for amputees in the prothesis process. 

The 6’9″ forward was a 3-time All-American at Oklahoma and later went on to capture the Gold Medal at the 1984 Olympics on a team that featured future NBA greats, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and his future best man, Sam Perkins. The soft shooting left hander averaged just over 15 points and 6 rebounds a game in his 12 NBA seasons. Tisdale was drafted as the number 2 overall pick in the 1985 draft by the Indiana Pacers. After 4-1/2 seasons with the Pacers, he was traded to the Sacramento Kings where he teamed with Kenny Smith, then later with Mitch Richmond to form the nucleus of the franchise. His most successful campaign came in 1989 when he averaged 22.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Tisdale used to give the Los Angeles Lakers fits, with his shooting touch from outside and his ability to bang inside. Tisdale finished his playing career in 1997 with the Phoenix Suns, where he played a key reserve role off the bench. In 1997, Tisdale became the first Sooner in any sport to have his jersey (23) retired by Oklahoma University. Future 2009 NBA lottery pick, Blake Griffith requested, and later personally received Tisdale’s blessings to wear his number while attending the school. 

Tisdale’s first love was music. His first commercial release came in 1995, and was aptly titled, Power Forward. And soon after his playing days were over, he embarked on a highly successful smooth jazz career. With his emblematic smile and soulful bass strums, Tisdale’s second career blossomed. He was a self taught musician who never took any lessons or was capable of reading the notes for the music he wrote. Tisdale recorded 8 albums, with his 2001 release, Face to Face, reaching #1 on the Billboard contemporary jazz chart. His latest recording in 2008, Rebound, was written and released after his diagnosis with cancer. Tisdale is survived by his wife, Regina and their four children.

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One Response to Wayman Tisdale, 44, Dies from Cancer

  1. steveodesignedge says:

    Wayman Tisdale always played with a smile on his face, even when he was kicking the !@#* out of you. But he was one of the good guys, one to always congratulate his opponent, win or lose, after a hard fought battle.

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