Former Sooner Tisdale changes his tunes Hoop star makes mark in contemporary jazz

Phil Cornell Modified: May 15, 2009 at 2:25 pm •  Published: July 8, 2001


At 6-foot-8, he battled the big men on the court, but on records he can show a deft, delicate touch. "Even though I was strong, I had a lot of finesse and smoothness in my game," he said. "If you put my basketball game on TV and my music right under it, I think you could see me in both of them."

Tisdale credits his late father for the drive that is propelling him through two careers. His father gave up an electrician's job in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved the family to Oklahoma to become a minister in a small church, at considerable financial sacrifice.

"Growing up, overhearing the conversations (about money) with my mother," he said, "my mother would say, 'What are we going to do?' And he would say, 'The Lord will make a way.'"

Young Tisdale listened to gospel quartets and the jazz records of his older brother before he made his own way to the OU campus and wound up an All-American as a freshman.

He played alongside Michael Jordan on the U.S. team that won gold in 1984.

Tisdale was the second pick in the 1985 draft; Indiana selected him right after the Knicks took Patrick Ewing. He later played for Sacramento and Phoenix.

When it was time to leave, Tisdale was ready to leap into the next stage of his life. "It was too early to retire at 33. I just changed careers," he said.

Besides, "It's a lot easier on my knees."

Archive ID: 856667


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