First, he conquered the basketball world as a skilled big man. Then, he commandeered the jazz scene as a smooth jazz guitarist. But neither of those triumphs compare to the victory that Oklahoma native and Sooner legend Wayman Tisdale is scoring over bone cancer. Treatment continues, but so does life as Tisdale played Friday in Tulsa and will perform Sunday in Oklahoma City.
Jenni Carlson: You haven't played in your home state for a while.
Wayman Tisdale: It's been awhile since I played Oklahoma City. I did the Riverwind Casino last December. I always look forward to playing in Oklahoma in front of my home crowd.
JC: You've had a pretty intense tour schedule lately. How has that been for you?
WT: It's been great. When you go on tour and you're working, it doesn't seem like work. I just enjoy what I do so much. It's actually a dream coming true.
JC: You're still within a year of your diagnosis. Were you at all concerned about balancing health and music?
WT: I had to cancel like 40 or 50 dates last year, but we wanted to ease back into it somewhat. The first couple of months, I only did a couple shows. Then, I did the Christmas tour with Dave Koz. That was a lot of dates. We did like 23 shows in 26 days. It was something crazy like that. But the good thing was we were actually touring on a bus, and everything went well. It's easier when you're touring on a bus.
JC: You're a guy who's always drawn applause, but what has it meant to hear it again?
WT: The thing for me is, this whole experience has let me realize, not that I took it for granted, but how appreciative I am of the people who love what I do whether it was basketball or music.