Even though I never knew the man, my heart dropped when I heard the news this morning. Wayman Tisdale, 44, had left us way too early.
And every time a day of yard work at home meant I would slip on the t-shirt that commemorated the beginning of basketball in Oklahoma City, my one memory of Tisdale and his joyful spirit would come rushing back.
On Nov. 1, 2005, in Oklahoma City, the accomplished jazz musician and beloved Oklahoma Sooner was asked to perform the national anthem for what was sure to be a powerful evening. Hurricane Katrina had moved the Hornets out of the Bayou, with the organization relocating into a city that already knew a thing or two about tragedy and was ecstatic about the team's new arrival.
With the lights dimmed and the arena electric, Tisdale - who had saxophone accompaniment - picked up his bass guitar and met the moment. He carried the tune that came with no vocals, the performance a musical delight and just slow enough for the mood to build and no one wanting it to end. It was a special touch on a special night from someone who so many said was a special man. Our condolences to the Tisdale family. From those who knew him to those who wish they did, he will be missed. - Sam Amick