This article is a tribute to basketball star and bass guitarist Wayman Tisdale who sadly lost his life last year. It is believed, but not certain that osteosarcoma contributed to his early demise. Mr. Tisdale is best known for his versions of hit songs like, "Can’t Hide Love"; "Ain’t No Stopping Us Now"; and "Get Down On It".
Wayman Tisdale was a professional basketball player and bass guitarist whose passion for life was evident in everything he did. His father, Louis Tisdale was the renowned pastor of Friendship Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Wayman grew up.
Born Wayman Laurence Tisdale in Fort Worth, Texas in June of 1964, he led a life representative of his faith in God and the Bible. Wayman recalled being fascinated with the bass players in his father’s church. “I thought they were the coolest cats. They got to stand and do their thing in the back. I’d watch their fingering and how they played.” Needless to say, these ‘cool cats’ left a lasting impression on young Wayman.
On one occasion, Wayman’s father bought him and his older brothers a bass guitar. While his brothers showed complete apathy for their gifts, Wayman was thrilled. Afterward, he recalled, “It was the greatest gift my Dad ever gave me.” An appreciative young Wayman immediately began to teach himself how to play the guitar.
While music was Wayman’s first love, a tremendous height increase which occurred during his junior high school years attracted his attention to basketball. From 1983 to 1985, Wayman played for the Oklahoma Sooners. In 1984, Tisdale’s US Olympic Team earned the gold medal. Two years later, Tisdale was the second draft pick behind Patrick Ewing, for the Indiana Pacers.
Tisdale stayed with the Pacers for four seasons, averaging 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game during his final season. In 1989, Wayman was drafted by the Sacramento Kings where he averaged 22.3 points per game. Later in 1984, Wayman signed with the Phoenix Suns. Whereas the Pacers and the Kings proved to be losing teams, the Suns earned first place in the 1995 Pacific Division. In his 12 year NBA career, Wayman scored over 12,000 points and pulled down over 5,000 rebounds. His jersey Number 23, was retired in 1997.
Prior to his 1997 retirement however, Tisdale had already begun moving toward his music career. His debut CD, ‘Power Forward’ (1995), reached Number 4 on the jazz charts and subsequently crossed over onto the R&B charts. The following year, Tisdale’s second CD, ‘In the Zone’ was released. In 1997, Wayman’s father passed away, propelling his decision to retire from the NBA, and influencing the name of his third CD, aptly titled, ‘Decisions’. Wayman’s fourth CD, ‘Face to Face’(2001) went to Number 1 on the jazz charts. And in 2002, ‘Face to Face’, which featured the No. 1 hit single, ‘Can’t Hide Love’, earned him a ‘Smooth Jazz Bassist of the Year’ Award.