Celebrating Wayman Tisdale's Life

Thursday, May 21st 2009, 7:38 am
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Thousands of people said goodbye to Wayman Tisdale on Thursday in downtown Tulsa.

The basketball star, musician and favorite son of Tulsa was remembered for his smile, his faith and the love he had for his family and community.

Tisdale memorial service

With his jazz band playing on stage, and thousands of people in the BOK arena, the casket carrying Tisdale was brought into the arena.

Pastor Sherwood Carthen of Sacramento, a city where Wayman Tisdale spent part of his NBA career, took to the podium first.

"Worship God not because Wayman played for the Sacramento Kings, but because he played for the King of Kings," Carthen said. "Worship God because he is worthy to be praised."

Tisdale's faith was celebrated as well as the positive impact he had on his family and countless friends and fans.

"What I loved so much about him is indeed, his love of God, his love for his family, his honoring of his wife and how he adored his children and his grandchildren," former NBA teammate A.C. Green said.

No memorial service for Tisdale would be complete without the music he loved, from high-energy performances to a touching song dedicated by Toby Keith.

People from the basketball world like Billy Tubbs spoke of his former three-time All American at OU.

"He did more in his 44 years than most people do in 84 years or 88 years," Tubbs said.

Tisdale was also remembered by people in the music business.

"That light is Wayman's legacy," musician Marcus Miller said. "That light is what is going to shine forever, into eternity."

Tisdale was remembered as someone who made everyone around him feel special and important.

"We thank you today, Lord, for the life of Wayman Tisdale," said Bishop Alexis Thomas from Phoenix. "Thank you today for how he taught us how to wear greatness with humility."

Although cancer took his leg and took his life, it can't take away the effect he had on so many others, and his legacy.

"Wayman would never want any of us to leave this place hurting," said Tisdale's brother, Weldon Tisdale. "He meant for everyone to feel the same joy that he had."

For the thousands attending the service, they want to honor Wayman Tisdale for that joy, for those memories and to thank his family for sharing him with all of us.

Tisdale was remembered as such a positive role model. As one of his friends pointed out, the world is missing a saint, but God got one of his angels back.

A horse-drawn carriage took Tisdale's body to the BOK Center. The procession started near Pine Street and Peoria Avenue, went down Pine and turned onto Denver Avenue.

Several limos, buses and cars followed the carriage, and hundreds of people came out to watch. Students and staff at Carver Middle School lined the road to pay their respects.

Others lined up in neighborhoods, business parking lots and even at the Avalon Correctional Center. The procession also passed along the expressway named for Wayman's father, L.L. Tisdale.

Tisdale was laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery at 51st Street and Memorial Drive. He was carried in a hearse from the BOK Center to the cemetery.

Tulsa Police blocked off ramps onto the Broken Arrow Expressway to keep the road cleared. The procession was about 2 ½ miles long.