Wayman Tisdale, former NBA star and noted smooth jazz bass guitarist, died at age 44 on Friday, May 15, 2009 at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma after a two year battle with cancer.
He played college ball for Oklahoma from 1983-1985, during which time he was a three time All American. The 6’9″ forward was a member of the 1985 US Olympic Basketball Team and won a gold medal.
Tisdale was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1985 and later played for the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. His NBA career ended with his retirement in 1997 so that he could pursue his other love – music.
His debut CD Power Forward was well received in 1995. In 2002 he received the Legacy Tribute Award by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
The athlete and musician was diagnosed with cancer of the knee in 2007, after breaking his leg. He underwent several rounds of aggressive chemotherapy treatment. In August 2008, doctors performed a partial leg amputation and fitted Tisdale with a prosthetic device to aid his mobility.
Tisdale accepted his last award in April 2009 from the Greenwood Cultural Center. During his acceptance speech he said, “Music is the gift I leave behind. Basketball was my first love, but music will be here forever.”
Upon learning of Wayman’s passing, his former Oklahoma college coach, Billy Tubs said, “He just lit up a room and was so positive. He was a great human being. I’ll miss everything about him.”
Tisdale, also a member of the Oklahoma Tourism board, is survived by his wife Regina Tisdale and their four children.
Check out more photos and the video reporting his death below. The second video features Wayman and his band performing Lets Do It Again.