One Last Rebound

by | May 22, 2009 | Purpose & Identity

Chad_bonhamMy original plan for this week’s blog was to write about “American Idol.” Wednesday night’s shocking victory by Conway, Arkansas native and former worship leader Kris Allen is quite the story. He is yet another Christian who has done quite well on the eight-year old program that has become an international pop culture icon.

But I’ll save that for next time.

Instead, I want to tell you about a great man that the city of Tulsa (and the rest of the country for that matter) lost on May 15: Wayman Tisdale.

Tisdale was just 44 years old when he passed away. After losing a leg to amputation last August in an effort to stop the spread of bone cancer, he had announced the disease had been stopped in its tracks. But apparently, the lingering effects were too much for the former All-American athlete and NBA workhorse to overcome.

It’s interesting timing since just a few days after his death, the Los Angeles Clippers announced they would select Blake Griffin with the top pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Griffin started at the University of Oklahoma ( OU) where he earned All-American honors and was named by multiple organizations as the college basketball Player of the Year.

But before Griffin was even born, Tisdale was blazing the trail at OU. Many credit him with singlehandedly revitalizing the entire Sooners basketball program. In fact, Griffin himself has listed Tisdale as one of his heroes. When he signed with OU, he personally asked Tisdale for permission to wear his retired #23 jersey. Tisdale gladly complied.

Tisdale, who won a gold medal as part of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team, played 12 years in the NBA with four teams: the Indiana Pacers (who drafted him #2 overall in 1985), Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns.

But his real love was music. Tisdale was an extraordinary bass player. He retired from basketball in 1997 to focus on a burgeoning recording and touring career. His self-taught smooth jazz stylings earned praise and attracted collaborations from some of the genre’s greats. Jonathan Butler, Dave Koz, George Duke, Jeff Lorber and Kirk Whalum were just a few outstanding musicians who found themselves attracted to Tisdale’s unique lead bass compositions.

But more than anything, Tisdale was a man of God and an uncompromising husband and father. I had one opportunity to interview Tisdale. It was for a Gospel Today article about the unfortunate history of infidelity in the NBA. I was able to ask Tisdale and NBA legend A.C. Green in a joint conversation about their secrets to sexual purity and marital faithfulness.

And faithful he was-not just to his family, but to his faith. It came out in everything he did-from the way he worked tirelessly on the court to the way he produced brilliant art in the studio and performed it on the stage.

Tisdale’s last album was called Rebound. It was written, recorded and released after his amputation. It reflected the infectious joy that was also evident on his smiling face. The theme was perfectly crafted and makes even more sense now that Tisdale has collected one last rebound and will no doubt be making music in God’s presence for all of eternity.

For the rest of us still hanging around this earth, we are blessed to have Tisdale’s music to enjoy. If you’ve never experienced it, I would encourage you to check out any one of his eight albums. Tisdale’s songs will lift your spirits and remind you that there is one true source of creativity (our Heavenly Father) and that there should be one singular focus of our gifts (to glorify His name).

That’s what Tisdale was all about.

Thousands gathered in Tulsa today (May 21st) in the BOK Center where, appropriately, basketball and music are both played. They took a moment to remember all the great things Tisdale brought to this world-hope, joy, love and an assurance that we can all rebound from whatever life tosses our way.

Chad Bonham is a freelance author, journalist and television and documentary producer from Broken Arrow, Okla. He has authored several books including a four-book FCA series (Regal Books) and is the coordinating producer on a forthcoming documentary called Choosing Life.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


An Urgent Memorial Day Wake-up Call for America and the Church

An Urgent Memorial Day Wake-up Call for America and the Church

"We have forgotten God, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own" —Abraham Lincoln. Over the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the...

Like Martin Luther, Today’s Believers Must Destroy Golden Calves

Like Martin Luther, Today’s Believers Must Destroy Golden Calves

The German Augustinian monk and religious reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the catalyst and seminal figure of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. In the fall of 1517, he drafted a set of propositions for the purpose of conducting an academic debate on a...

The Galatians 2:20 Foundation of Memorial Day

The Galatians 2:20 Foundation of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an American holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May as a day for remembering and honoring the courageous men and women who have died for the cause of freedom while serving in our military. Several other countries have similar, solemn...


Are You Ready for a Pentecost Outpouring?

We read in Acts 2:1-21 about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that came during Pentecost. When the 120 were waiting with expectation and anticipation through worship in the upper room, the Holy...
What America’s Memorial Day Means for Israel

What America’s Memorial Day Means for Israel

Each year, I try to think of how to depict Memorial Day in Israel in a way that's meaningful and juxtapose it in relation to how it's observed in the US. Many thoughts race through my head. And each year. I see Memorial Day through a different prism. This year's prism...

Is God Speaking Through Déjà Vu?

Is God Speaking Through Déjà Vu?

The occurrence of déjà vu has confounded people for millennia. St. Augustine is credited as being the first to reference the concept of déjà vu, while it was French philosopher Emile Boirac who coined the term "déjà vu" in 1890. But is there something more to the...

Pentecost: Holy Living for Our Holy God

Pentecost: Holy Living for Our Holy God

In 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, the apostle Paul instructed the believers, by the authority of the Lord Jesus, about “how you are to walk and to please God.” He bluntly told them it was “God’s will” for them to “avoid sexual immorality” (v. 3; NIV). The Greek word Paul...

Faithlessness Driving Euthanasia to America

Faithlessness Driving Euthanasia to America

Canada's Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) is gaining supporters across the world as the idea of being able to decide when you die is being accepted by many. What was once packaged as a program for the terminally ill that has now branched out to encompass a wide...

Pin It on Pinterest