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After trading basketball for jazz, Tisdale now conquers cancer

Jay C. Upchurch April 24th, 2008

Former University of Oklahoma and three-time All-American basketball player Wayman Tisdale took the stage with his band and delighted the audience with a unique blend of jazz and rhythm and blues, wit...

ut the most compelling aspect of the evening had little to do with Tisdale's music. Rather, it was the story he told about his recent and ongoing fight with bone cancer.

His infectious smile never goes away. The 43-year-old wore it on the court when he was known for having one of the sweetest left-handed jumpshots in basketball during his career as a Sooner and NBA player. The stage may have changed, but Tisdale is still Tisdale. He simply took the talent and passion he used to become a hoops standout, and injected it into his music career.

No one who ever saw the former power forward play basketball questioned the size of his heart. But on this night, it was plain to see Tisdale's spirit " and more importantly, his spiritual beliefs " were greater than his current opponent.

"No matter how dark your road, God can get you through it. I really believe that," he told the crowd.

Although he admitted there were some anxious moments during an eight-week period where doctors put him through a battery of tests while trying to determine what had caused his leg to break in half (just below his right knee), he was almost relieved to hear the final diagnosis.

"I finally got the results of all the tests, and immediately I got a calm spirit," he said. "Because the God I serve is bigger than cancer."

A cancerous cyst was removed from his knee and doctors followed with an eight-hour knee-replacement surgery. Shortly thereafter, Tisdale began rehabilitation on his leg and an intense series of treatments for the cancer. "“ Jay C. Upchurch

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