Wayman Tisdale was once a basketball player.
Three times an All-American at Oklahoma, a first-round selection in the NBA draft, a U.S. Olympic athlete. He left OU as the school's all-time leading scorer and returned to have his jersey retired.
Alvan Adams may have put Oklahoma basketball on the map, but Tisdale made it cool.
Once a basketball player, but always a musician.
"I'm able to express myself musically," he said with his always-present smile before a show Monday night at Birdies in Bricktown. "If I couldn't play and have a good time and laugh, I wouldn't be Wayman."
He's still Wayman.
He got his start at his father's church in Tulsa. Basketball came a year later. People might know him from his turnaround jumper or from his 12 seasons in the NBA, but the 6-foot-9 Tisdale is concentrating on his music career full time, and has released three albums, including his recent work, "Decisions."
"My biggest hurdle is people thinking that I'm just a basketball player," he said. "But this (tour) has turned out to be the best thing that I've done musically."
No more turnaround jumpers, but he is still jammin'.
He is in the middle of a 14-city, three week tour, playing smooth jazz Christmas music on the sixth annual JazzTrax Christmas Concert Tour.
While the audience may come to see the former hoop star, he has already convinced those around him that he's got another type of game.
"I don't know much about basketball," said Marc Antoine, who plays alongside of Tisdale on their 14-city tour. "But Wayman is a pro. Jazz music doesn't have the same audience as basketball, but he's definitely in the top 10."
Never camera-shy at OU, Tisdale always seemed to be ready with a smile or a comment. He played that way, too. Unlike some, Tisdale looked like he was having a good time on the court.
And Monday, he looked like he was having a good time on stage. Quick with a joke, and easy to make conversation with.
"I feel fortunate to have done both," he said of his basketball and music career. "There's a running joke that I'm the only working NBA player around."
That's thanks to the lockout that could cancel the entire season. Already hundreds of regular-season game have been called off along with the All-Star game.
Luckily, for Tisdale, he has another career.
"I haven't reached where I want to be, musically," he said. "Eventually, I would like to win a Grammy."
Out of the question? Not likely. Tisdale thrives performing in front of people, and he says the pressure of an NBA game isn't near what it is on stage.
"I'm getting to be comfortable," he said. "The music isn't there yet. But I'm not thinking of the notes anymore, I'm thinking of the energy that I need to bring to my performance."Archive ID: 746260