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Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale, whose obituary appears Sunday in the Post, was one of the finest college basketball players of all time. He was a three-time all-American at the University of Oklahoma and was named the Big Eight Conference's player of the year three years in a row. He was an unstoppable post player for Oklahoma, with a soft lefthanded shot, and was a rugged, uncanny rebounder.

He was the second player selected in the 1985 NBA draft (after Patrick Ewing of Georgetown University) and went on to have a fine pro career, playing 12 years with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns.

Years later, when I first began to hear about a contemporary jazz-R&B electric bass player named Wayman Tisdale, I assumed it was someone else with the same name. All kinds of athletes, from Joe Frazier to Denny McLain to Shaquille O'Neal to Deion Sanders, have tried to become recording stars, and all have failed. Except for Wayman Tisdale.

Yes, there was only one Wayman Tisdale and, if anything, his career in music was even more stellar than his career in basketball. Two of his albums hit No. 1 on the contemporary jazz charts, he had several Top 10 hits, and he was a top concert attraction. He was an excellent electric bass player, with a distinctive original sound, even if he couldn't read a note of music.

He was also, by all accounts, a wonderful guy, with a sunny outlook on life and a big, infectious smile. His warn personality shines through on the following promo video for his chart-topping 2006 album "Way Up!"


By Matt Schudel  |  May 17, 2009; 6:36 AM ET
Categories:  Athletes , Matt Schudel , Musicians  
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