Collected Wisdom: Wayman Tisdale

By Jenni Carlson Modified: May 17, 2009 at 12:55 am •  Published: May 17, 2009
We always intended to sit down with Wayman Tisdale and interview the basketball legend and jazz superstar for our "Collected Wisdom” series. Trouble was, he never sat still long enough.

But when Tisdale died Friday after a public and courageous battle with cancer, we realized he had been sharing his wisdom all along. It was simply up to us to collect it.

As long as you live, you’re going to have some bumps in the road. It’s how you come out of those that determines your character and who you are as a person.

It’s very seldom that I have a down day. I was raised like that. That’s why it’s so easy for me to smile.

My smile is not fake.

My father told me not to get the big head. He knew that I was having a lot of success, and he said one thing he didn’t want me to do was get the big head. And I respect him a lot.

Got to respect him. He’s a big man. Got arms like a cannon.

My father bought Mickey Mouse guitars for me and my brothers. I’m trying to figure it out. Of course, my brothers are athletes, so they used them as hockey sticks and baseball bats. They did not take care of those guitars. But my father noticed I kept mine. He’s like, "We’ll buy you a guitar for Christmas. A real guitar.”

I just played in church. My father didn’t want me out playing in bands. He used to be in some bands himself, and he knew about the band life.

I’m always thinking ahead. Even when I was playing (basketball), I kept thinking what was next.


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