Wayman Tisdale (Wayman Lawrence Tisdale)

Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he grew up. As a college player at the University of Oklahoma from 1982 to 1985, he was a three-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and the first player in collegiate history to be named a first-team All American by the Associated Press in his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons. He still holds the record at Oklahoma for the most points scored by any player through his freshman and sophomore seasons. He won a gold medal as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team coached by Indiana University’s Bobby Knight. The Indiana Pacers made Tisdale the second overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. As a center and power forward, Tisdale averaged over 15 points and six rebounds per game in a 12-season professional career with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns. His best season was in 1989–90 with the Kings, when he averaged 22.3 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Tisdale and Mitch “The Rock” Richmond combined to form one of the most dynamic duos in the NBA. Tisdale retired in 1997 to focus on his musical career. Wayman Tisdale became the first player in any sport to have his jersey number (23) retired by the University of Oklahoma in 1997. When Blake Griffin was granted permission to wear it during his career at OU (2007–2009), he sought and received Tisdale’s blessing before accepting it. The outstanding freshman award in the NCAA is named the Wayman Tisdale Award.

Wayman Tisdale launched his music career with Power Forward in 1995 on the Motown Label. Primarily a bass player, he recorded eight albums, with the 2001 release Face to Face climbing to No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart. He was awarded the Legacy Tribute Award by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2002. In an ESPN internet chat Tisdale said his musical influences included the funk bands of the 1970s. His most recent release, Rebound, was written and released after he was diagnosed with cancer. Wayman Tisdale died on the morning of May 15, 2009, at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, where his wife had taken him when he had trouble breathing. Tisdale’s agent described his death as a “great shock” and noted that Tisdale had been planning to go into the recording studio the following week for a project with jazz guitarist Norman Brown. As yet, it is unconfirmed whether his death was related to his battle with cancer. Tisdale and his wife, Regina, had four children.

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  • June, 09, 1964
  • USA
  • Fort Worth, Texas


  • May, 15, 2009
  • USA
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma

Cause of Death

  • cancer


  • Memorial Park Cemetery
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • USA

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