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NBA players inspired by Wayman Tisdale’s courage

BY BERRY TRAMEL Modified: April 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm •  Published: April 8, 2009
One by one, the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder stopped their halftime warmup of a tight NBA game and walked over to the man sitting on the front row of the Ford Center.

Wayman Tisdale still draws a crowd.

"You’ve been an inspiration,” the Spurs’ Bruce Bowen told Tisdale, who was honored with the Thunder Community Hero Award before the game. "The after career you’ve had, a better career...”

Bowen was talking about Tisdale’s musical prowess, as a big-selling jazz guitarist who has released eight albums.

But Tisdale also has been an inspiration as a cancer survivor. His right leg was amputated above the knee in 2008.

Tisdale, a star at both Tulsa Washington High School and OU, has begun touring again; he was in Cape Coral, Fla., and Reading, Pa., last week and will be all over America in the next few months. Tisdale also filmed a television show with Billy Packer and Bob Knight in Las Vegas a few days ago.

"I’m good, man,” Tisdale said. "Doing great.”

In February, Tisdale received the NBA Courage Award during an All-Star Game legends event.

"What’s up, bro?” the Spurs’ Michael Finley asked Tisdale at halftime.

Tisdale and Finley were Phoenix Suns teammates during Finley’s rookie season, 1995-96.

"When I came in as a big-eyed rookie, not knowing anything, Wayman was one of the veterans who took me under his wing,” Finley said.


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