The World could use Wayman Tisdale

Updated: July 11, 2018

Looking back

Who was Wayman Tisdale? In today’s beat-yourself-on-the-chest for next to nothing athletes, it is easy to forget not so long ago there was a great basketball player named Wayman Tisdale who showed people how to act on and off the court. Wayman Tisdale was not just an athlete, but also a world-class jazz musician. More importantly, Wayman was a guy who showed the rest of us how to live life.

Those who knew Wayman remember his constant smile and positive disposition. You’ll never meet a nicer guy than Wayman Tisdale. He followed an All-American career at the University of Oklahoma with an all-star career in the NBA. Before he even ended his NBA career, Wayman proved to he was at least as good with a bass guitar as he was with a basketball.

United Oklahoma

I grew up in Oklahoma, and still have relatives and friends there. One thing I know for certain about the red clay state is you can’t get two Okies, much less the entire state, to agree about anything. Perhaps the only subject that Okies agree is that Wayman Tisdale was a class act. We love and miss him. He represented the state like Will Rogers, and the best of them have since the land run.

The Video

Toby Keith, one of Wayman’s many friends, wrote the song in this video that captured most of our feelings at the time, and now. The video captures Wayman Tisdale’s last performance. Wayman never stopped living, not when he got cancer, not when he lost his legs. He kept smiling, performing jazz, and living life.  Wayman played the kind of music that makes you feel, and this video captures his playful nature.


In a world where people divide by race, color, nation, or religion, I don’t know of anybody who did not like Wayman Tisdale. Wayman, you were perhaps the most beloved man in Oklahoma since, well, Will Rogers. You played basketball and your bass guitar with your cheeks pushed up suggesting you were the happiest guy in the world. That’s precisely the way I’ll always remember you.

More About Wayman Tisdale

Video Information

VIDEO INFORMATION Uploaded on Feb 8, 2010 Toby Keith performs “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song)” at halftime of the OU-Texas basketball game at the Lloyd Noble Center on Feb. 6, 2010. Read more on Tisdale’s impact at Oklahoma as part of’s series celebrating Black History Month://… Category Sports License Standard YouTube License

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