Posted by Neil Paine on May 15, 2009
It's been nothing if not a rough week for the basketball community. First, Chuck Daly passed away, and today comes the tragic news that Wayman Tisdale has lost his 2-year battle with cancer.
Tisdale was one of the greatest college basketball players ever during his career at Oklahoma, averaging 25.6 PPG and 10.1 RPG with 58% shooting, and earning 1st-team All-America nods in each of his 3 seasons:
He also played 12 years in the NBA, establishing himself as a solid offensive option for the Pacers, Kings, and Suns. His career averages were 15.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and a .543 True Shooting %.
After his basketball career ended, Tisdale made a big name for himself with another kind of playing -- he was a very well-regarded jazz bass guitar player who had released 8 albums since 1995, including one last year entitled "Rebound". Here's a video that will give you a sense of what he was all about as a musician and a person.
And what a person he was. He was always optimistic, always had a great big smile on his face, even after the fight with cancer caused his leg to have to be amputated last August. ESPN did an inspirational piece on his recovery and his battle back shortly thereafter -- Tisdale never gave up, never lost hope, and never felt sorry for himself.
The basketball world lost a good player today, but the bigger tragedy is that the world lost a truly great human being. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family right now. At least now he'll be able to "jam with God", as someone put it so aptly in the comments of that YouTube video.
R.I.P. Wayman Tisdale (1964-2009).