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Goodbye to a great

Previously on WhatWouldWesleyDo: Check this out!

Former NBA standout Wayman Tisdale died this morning at the age of 44. Tisdale played 12 seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and Indiana Pacers after a stellar career at Oklahoma from 1983 to 1985. Not only was Tisdale a great basketball player, he was also a wonderful jazz musician.

I can hardly remember non-star players before the ’96-’97 NBA season. Other than Seattle Supersonics like Ricky Pierce, Michael Cage and Steve Scheffler, the league was composed of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, John Stockton and a bunch of other really good players–except for the rare case of a player like Wayman Tisdale. He played for the Sacramento Kings, which weren’t too far up the road from us when we lived on the Presidio, and were a division rival for the Sonics up until the 2004 season. So after 1989, for a minimum of 4 games a year Tisdale would play a team that was nearby where I lived (Warriors and Sonics), and he was a solid contributor. Here’s a video about Tisdale and his music:

Off the court, people talked about how nice he was and how good of a musician he was. He got his start in the church like most black musicians do, but sort of put the professional career off for basketball, obviously a smart move for a 6-9 240 lb. physical specimen with that much talent. In short, I might have heard him on one of the San Francisco radio stations, or heard one of the church folk referencing how much he loved Jesus, using him as a point of reference for the younger generation to follow, but whatever it was, it was positive.

I remember hearing he had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago. Listening to the Third Shift on Fox Sports Radio got me through the day (and night), but this particular news was really disheartening, especially because of the nature of the cancer. Being that it was in his leg, and I have had several leg injuries I cringed with the details. If you like, here’s a video that explains his situation.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

TNT did a special on Tisdale that I cannot find on the internet, but it was much better than this ESPN report.

Tisdale died of bone cancer, which first took his leg, and ultimately his life. What I take away from this man is the everlasting peace he seemed to maintain. I know that if I were stricken with even a remotely similar affliction, I would most certainly not be able to continue–let alone with the enduring positive spirit he constantly kept.

If you have the time, just Google Wayman Tisdale, and see what you find.

I normally don’t follow the stars or keep up with the lives of people that are famous. Generally, it’s wasteful to do so, especially when you understand that focusing said attention your own life will probably produce much more pleasing and measurable results. Yet a superstar like Tisdale is an exception, considering his giant status in the realm of spirit and personal character. His story is truly amazing and I know that at least one person has positively been influenced by his presence on this planet.

Salute

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