Wayman Tisdale, Maybe The NBA’s Coolest Player

A recurring segment of this newsletter is “Cool Cats,” where I feature someone who, yes, makes some nice plays on the court, but more importantly, does something super interesting off the court, too.

And man, Wayman Tisdale was a cool cat.

Though he was born in Fort Worth, Texas, Tisdale grew up in the Tulsa area and played college basketball at the University of Oklahoma, so Oklahomans can claim him in that regard. Though Texans should also probably be fans of his.

Tisdale was one of the most highly recruited basketball players in the country when he met his future wife, but she only knew him as a guy from church. Tisdale’s college play was so impressive that the nation’s best freshman award is named after him.

That’s all well and good, but Tisdale’s first love was music. He released eight jazz albums over a decade and a half, primarily showcasing his talents on bass.

Despite several mildly corny basketball-themed album titles – Power ForwardIn The ZoneHang Time – the dude could rock.

And he was such a friendly personality; when he flashed his smile at you, you felt like you were the only person that mattered in the world.

Tisdale was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. He had part of his right leg amputated but recovered quickly with his new prosthetic leg.

Tisdale’s doctor, Scott Sabolich, said he had never designed a prosthetic as large as Tisdale’s and that the former baller was acclimated to it within a month. Typically, it takes people three to six months to do that, but again, Tisdale often impressed everyone around him.

He sadly passed away in 2009 but not before starting the Wayman L. Tisdale Foundation to help amputees with the prosthetic process.

Entertaining people with music and sports AND helping folks through difficult stages of their life? That’s a powerful combo, and it makes Wayman Tisdale one cool cat.

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