One day in the mid 1980s, my dad set up a makeshift "basketball goal" in the backyard of our house. It was vintage South OKC. He took a large black metal ring "“ one that was a little bit smaller than a hula hoop "“ and connected it to a rope the hung from the carport at our house. While the ring slowly spun around in the air, I would loft tennis balls or small basketballs through it.
A day or two later, a neighbor kid and I were throwing balls through the hoop and my Dad remarked that we should practice turnaround jumpers like Wayman Tisdale. We had no clue who or what my Dad was talking about, so he explained that Wayman was the best player in the country, and played for OU. After that, he attempted to describe to us the famous turnaround jumper.
Inspired by my Dad's talk, the neighbor kid and I decided to practice turnaround jumpers for the rest of the day. After doing so, we were quite convinced that we were as good as Wayman Tisdale, and that we would play for OU. In fact, our perfection of the turnaround jumper is probably what led my Dad to install a real basketball goal in the backyard. I must admit, it made the turnaround jumper much more difficult.
Anyway, since I was a little kid growing up in a questionable part of South Oklahoma City, I've been a Wayman Tisdale fan. I remember collecting his basketball cards, playing as the Sacramento Kings in NBA Jam, and even thinking that Ryan Humphrey would follow in his footsteps. He was always "“ and will always be "“ one of my favorite basketball players. Our very thoughtful and unsnarky hearts are with his family and friends during this time.