For the second time in his life, Wayman Tisdale has experienced love at first sight.
Tisdale initially was smitten his junior year at Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School. It occurred when he met a young lady from Tulsa Rogers High School.
"When I first dated her, I said, 'That's the woman I'm going to marry,' " Tisdale recalled Saturday night.
Some 14 years later, that woman, Regina, is indeed Tisdale's wife and the mother of their three children. She's also delighted that her husband's fallen in love again, because the object of Tisdale's affection is the Phoenix Suns.
Tisdale, a three-time All-American at the University of Oklahoma, enjoyed a triumphant homecoming Saturday night as the Suns raced to a 142-121 victory over the Detroit Pistons in an NBA exhibition game at the Myriad.
Always an exuberant, extroverted man-child during his prolific prep and college careers, the 30-year-old Tisdale acted like a kid again in just his second game with the Suns. After nine dreary, spirit-killing years with perennial losers Indiana and Sacramento, Tisdale has been on a honeymoon ever since he decided to sign with the Suns.
"The first time I visited (Phoenix), it was like the first time I saw my wife; I knew I was going to love it," Tisdale said.
It was obvious that the majority of the 14,130 spectators still love one of the finest players the state has produced. Tisdale received the loudest and warmest ovation during pre-game introductions.
The 6-foot-9 Tisdale didn't take long to prove he still has the lethal offensive skills he possessed as a Sooner. Using the turnaround jumper that was his signature shot at OU, Tisdale scored his first basket with 9:46 left in the first quarter.
He went on to produce 14 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes of action. The obvious joy Tisdale feels at being part of the Suns was evident when his follow shot put Phoenix up 85-55 with 9:44 left in the third period. Flashing that famous Tisdale smile, he high-fived with teammate Charles Barkley.
"It's so much healthier here (Phoenix)," Tisdale said of the atmosphere on his new team. "This is so much better for me. After spending nine years losing, you want to win.
"When you lose, you get accused of a lot of negative thngs about your game. I was tired of being accused of all the things I'm not.
And when you're winning, all the good things come out. " A big-time winner at Booker T. Washington and OU, it was Tisdale's hatred for losing in the NBA that convinced him to take what he admits is the gamble of his life. Although some teams reportedly were ready to offer him $20 million to sign and long-term deal, he opted for the $850,000, one-year contract the Suns had available under the salary cap.
Tisdale said he's taken out a hefty insurance policy in case a injury this season should end his career before he can seek a mega-bucks deal next season either with the Suns or another team with championship potential.
"Sure, there's a lot of risk involved," Tisdale said. "But winning means that much to me. I wouldn't have done this if I didn't want to win. " BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 589949