Sad news from Norman last night as former Oklahoma great Wayman Tisdale announced at the OU-TCU football game (via video message) that he is recovering well after a recent surgery requiring doctors to amputate part of his right leg. They discovered cancer below his knee last year after he had broken that leg in a fall at his home. On the one hand, we’re glad to hear that he’s doing well after surgery, but we’re disheartened to hear that such a seemingly nice guy who is still quite young is dealing with a very serious form of cancer. Regardless, it got us to thinking about Tisdale.
Tisdale Was Unstoppable at Oklahoma
While many people may remember Tisdale’s twelve seasons in the NBA as a serviceable big man with a 15/6 average, we always envision him in a blood red SOONERS jersey laying waste to the Big 8 during his three years in Norman. Seriously, Tisdale invented the word “beast” with his play on the low blocks at Oklahoma. Playing in an era (1982-85) when freshmen weren’t typically the best players on the team, Tisdale walked onto campus and immediately started dropping double-doubles (25/10) on anybody who got in his way, becoming the first freshman AP All-American in the history of the game. He carried that average throughout his three year OU career (first team all-american each year), leading the Sooners to two Big 8 regular season titles and one tournament title as Oklahoma became ascended to national prominence under Billy Tubbs. In fact, Tisdale remains the all-time leader in points scored as a Sooner, with 2,661 in his career.
Music Was Always Tisdale’s Truest Passion (photo credit: waymantisdale.com)
We always wondered what Tisdale could have done if he had been completely focused on basketball, because as it turned out, Tisdale’s other consuming passion of contemporary jazz has arguably made him more well-known in that arena than he ever was as a hoopster. Has any athlete ever been so accomplished in two completely different worlds as Wayman Tisdale? In addition to recording eight solo albums in the genre, he’s had several #1 hit records, numerous top ten albums and was named the Bassist of the Year in 2002 by the National Smooth Jazz Awards.
Take a listen to his triumphant return in the YouTube video below, and check out the music at the end of the clip. Not bad, not bad at all. Best of luck to Wayman as he fights to stay cancer-free.