The Beat Goes On
A Q&A with the filmmaker of a new documentary on the late, great Wayman Tisdale.
SLAM: Michael Jordan, country singer Toby Keith and a couple other others from the worlds of music and basketball are featured in the film. Why did you reach out to those people in particular?
BS: I wish I could have gotten some more. I had no budget for this thing literally, but I wanted to get Charles Barkley (and) I wanted to get Jamie Foxx – obviously because Charles Barkley played with him on the Suns. Jamie Foxx was a good friend (of Wayman’s). Larry Bird, I was trying to get him. I was trying to get Magic Johnson. Those are the four guys that I wanted and I wasn’t able to get.
For Michael Jordan, the PR person with the Bobcats told me he gets 300 interview requests a day. Not a week. Not a month. A day. [laughs] That just shows you how rarely he does interviews. But once he saw Wayman Tisdale’s name, he said “I’ll do that one”. Michael Jordan was an obvious choice because they played on the Olympic team together. They were really good friends. Michael Jordan was (also) a big fan of his music.
Sam Perkins (also in the film) was the best man at his wedding – they were best friends. And AC Green played with him on the Suns and they were very close. They were both Christians and had a lot of that in common.
SLAM: From the music world, fellow jazz musicians Dave Koz, Marcus Miller and Jonathan Butler were also interviewed.
BS: I was going back to how much (Wayman) fit into his life. These guys are top notch musicians – top of the game, best in the world. He transitioned from his basketball friends over here to these music guys and they all became very close. You could’ve picked a hundred other people that were well-known with admiration and stories about what type of guy Wayman was.
SLAM: What do you want people who watch your film to take away from Wayman’s story?
BS: I think the point of the documentary is its message on how you live life. And I think you can summarize it pretty easily from the life Wayman led. You treat people kindly, you have faith in your life and in your spirituality and you have respect for your wife and your children. You try to fit as much in as possible and utilize your talents to the fullest. And in the end you die with courage, knowing that you’re going to a better place because of the life you’ve lived here on earth.
When you see Wayman on his last leg there, he didn’t complain. It kind of makes us look silly complaining about problems looking at how Wayman dealt with his. So (in the end), it should uplift people and lead them to a better way of living.
NBA TV will air The Wayman Tisdale Story on November 10th, with an ESPN broadcast to follow on a still-to-be-determined date. If you’re in the Sacramento area, the Kings will have a special screening of the film this Wednesday night, October 19th at Power Balance Pavilion. For more information, visit Kings.com.