I love basketball, it’s a wonderful sport. Dr.James A. Naismith was a genious and should be celebrated as one of Americas greatest inventors (ok, he was Canadian but he invented the game on U.S. soil). With so much media coverage in this day and age, it’s possible to know everything about your favorite players. Favorite color, favorite foods, birthday, everything. Twenty years ago wasn’t the case. So over the past 2 days I have found out so much about Wayman Tisdale, but that’s not what I want to share with you. I want to share my memories of Wayman Tisdale.
My memories start back when he was a young star at Oklahoma University. That was back when Bobby Knight was coaching at I.U., so in Indiana college basketball was big business. I had seen Wayman play maybe 3 or 4 times and had came to the conclusion he was a beast and one of my favorite players…this week. Give me a break, I was only 10 or 11 years old, I was always switching favorite players and teams. During the game they had a little segment about “who is Wayman Tisdale”. They began talking about where he was from, his highschool and so on and so forth. I’m sure you’ve seen these mini-documentaries before. Then they showed Wayman Tisdale’s father and they said his name. I can’t recall what his name was right now but my father knew it. You could see him searching for this name in his memory bank. Then it hit him, “that’s my cousin” he said.
“What!?” the rest of the family replied in unison.
My father is from Tennessee and from what I’ve gathered over the years (my father is not the most talkative person in the world and getting information from him is like pulling teeth) most of his family migrated toward St.Louis whereas my father and his two brothers came to Indiana. My mom says she only knows his imediate family as do we. My father is the youngest child and his oldest sister is 20 years older than him and has 13 children. Her oldest son is the same age as my father and all but 3 of them already had spouses or children or both. So we had enough family to visit in the summer.
But anyway, my father got on the phone and called Tennessee. After about
30 minutes, he came back with his “official story”. The story is that my father and the father of Wayman are actually 2nd cousins. Their mothers are cousins. My father has aparently visited Wayman’s father and grandmother when he was a child. I’m not sure if they were in Oklahoma then or where they were, but they stayed with them for about a week. As they grew older they grew more apart. My father doesn’t remeber this but of course his older sister can. To me it really didn’t matter. As of that moment Wayman Tisdale was my cousin.
I grew up telling people Wayman was my cousin. Ask my friends. I followed him like he was my cousin as well. I began watching every game of his that was televised in Indiana and I would emulated him on the playgrounds. I was a Wayman Tisdale fan. That summer he was selected in the draft by the Pacers and was coming to Indiana to play. It was the first or two times that Indiana actually drafted my favorite college player, it also happened in the case of Reggie Miller. He only played maybe 3 or 4 years in Indiana and then was sent out west to Sacremento. There he had a few good seasons but we didn’t get much Sacremento on televison. So I didn’t see him again until he was at Phoenix with Sir Charles.
Since those days, I’ve been in Germany. Here it’s work just to find out last night scores, you have to be glued to the internet. I have heard about Wayman’s fight with cancer, I had heard he was a musician but I never heard anything about them in detail until a few days ago. I kind of feel bad that my cousin has recorded 8 jazz albums and I’ve never heard anything from him. I think tonight I will legally download some of Wayman music, try to find some highlights of him on Youtube and crack open a bottle of Hennessy in his memory. This ones to you big cuz, rest in peace.