Aspiring to Be Wayman Tisdale

Saturday, May 16th 2009, 5:50 pm
By: News 9

By Chad McKee, NEWS 9 Sports

When I was 13-years-old, I wanted to be a 6-9, left-handed power forward with a smile that could light up the Shawnee Junior High School gymnasium.  My 8th-grade basketball coach reminded me that I was a 5-5, right-handed point guard with braces.  I was more Tommy Tubbs than Wayman Tisdale.

I always wanted to be like Wayman the player.  I don't know that I realized, until recently, that I should have wanted to be more like Wayman the person.

He was loving and loyal to his family.  He was engaging and thankful to both longtime fans and newfound friends.  And he was brave to the end, even when facing a most certain, painful fate.

Charles Barkley and Wayman Tisdale both played forward for the Phoenix Suns.  Barkley once famously declared, "I am not a role model."  He was right.  Athletes should not be role models.  Great men should be.  Wayman Tisdale was a role model and it had nothing to do with being OU's all-time leading scorer and rebounder or a 12-year NBA veteran.   

Rest in Peace Wayman Tisdale.  My thoughts and prayers go to your family.  For thousands of Oklahoma kids like me, from the time we first saw you with that smooth turnaround jumper and Cheshire Cat smile, to the day you died, you never stopped setting an example.  Let's hope we all get better at following it.