Many turn out for procession
BY MICHAEL OVERALL World Staff Writer
Friday, May 22, 2009
5/22/09 at 5:10 AM
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As soon as the police escort turned onto Pine Street, starting a three-mile procession toward downtown, traffic stopped and the spectators fell silent.
No talking. No fidgeting. No shuffling around. Nothing distracted the mourners, except the occasional clicking of a camera and the clopping of the horses.
Hundreds of people lined the route Thursday morning as an old-fashioned glass-sided carriage took Wayman Tisdale's body to his funeral.
Followed by a long entourage that included 10 limousines, two tour buses, a black SUV and dozens of private cars, the casket took more than half an hour to reach the BOK Center.
Near the end of the route, a white-gloved pallbearer lifted a basketball over his head and led the procession to a rear entrance.
"This is an historic event," said Lori Eubank, waiting with her two teenage sons outside the arena for a glimpse of the carriage, "something that we're all going to remember for a long time."
After the carriage passed, much of the crowd went inside for the service.
"I used to go to Norman to watch him and he was the best basketball player I ever saw," said Tracey McGinnis, on his way into the BOK. "I never thought that I'd be going to his funeral. He was too young for this to happen."
Other spectators lingered on the sidewalk long after the procession passed.
"What matters to me isn't the basketball," said Tulsa resident Carlton Bonds, who never met Tisdale or even saw him in person, but still showed up early and waited 45 minutes to watch the carriage go by.
"He was a good man who inspired other people to live right and do good things. That's what made him an important person."
Michael Overall 581-8383
A procession for Wayman Tisdale makes its way west on Pine on Thursday. Tisdale's casket was carried by a horse-drawn carriage. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World