Wayman Tisdale lived to inspire and point people back to God.
Though the former NBA star-turned-jazz-musician passed away on May 15 due to a lingering cancer at his right leg, he left something that goes beyond his colorful basketball career.
His faith and positive, “smiling” attitude, were actions that left a tremendous mark in the lives of the many people he touched.
A biography of the late Tisdale, described the 6’9” former NBA journeyman as a person who sees circumstances in the spiritual standpoint.
In his latest jazz music album called “Rebound”, launched last year prior to his major operation on his right leg, he explained what his set of newly-produced songs were all about.
“Rebound takes the listener on a journey with gratitude as the ultimate destination. Others might, understandably, be angry at God for the illness, but Tisdale feels nothing but thanks and praise. “He didn’t have to allow the bone to break, a lot of people find out too late,” Tisdale says. “I look at everything from a spiritual standpoint, my father being a Baptist minister before he passed. Through your toughest times, you’re going to find out who you are as a person and I got to really see what type of person I am.”
Oklahoma’s governor Brad Henry, who attended the same college with Tisdale, said, and I quote, “Even in the most challenging of times, he had a smile for people, and he had the rare ability to make everyone around him smile. He was one of the most inspirational people I have ever known.”
Since his youth, Tisdale has actively served the Lord at Friendship Church in his Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his father served as the senior pastor for 28 years. He was a bass guitarist in their church, then played college ball at the University of Oklahoma.
He eventually, took college by storm with his all-around play, and was later on drafted second pick overall by the Indiana Pacers. He then, had his best NBA career with the Sacramento Kings, averaging 22.3 points and more than seven rebounds during the 1989-1990 season.
He concluded his 12-year NBA career with the Phoenix Suns before retiring in 1997 to pursue his passion for music.
Challenges will always come our way, but like Tisdale, when we learn to entrust our life and future at the hands of God, He will build our character that could leave a lasting mark that will inspire even the next generation.
Tisdale also shared his faith in his web site (waymantisdale.com) that he has entrusted his future to God, having the peace that his decision to have part of his right leg removed would put the cancer in check.
“This may sound drastic, but I have put it in God’s hands and now have peace, knowing that this is the best way to put this disease in check,” he said. “I have complete faith that with the Lord’s blessings this surgery will eliminate the cancer from my body and I’ll soon be back on the road doing what I do best.”
For all of us who face our own “cancers” in life, we can imitate Wayman’s faith—to rebound or bounce back with the strength that comes from God.