Playing A New Tune Music is serving as the second verse in the lives of these five former athletes

July 14, 2002

Wayman Tisdale

He banged the boards for 12 seasons as an NBA power forward, but
Tisdale's cool urban R&B is anything but bruising. His fourth
album, Face to Face, hit No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz
charts last year, and he was named Bassist of the Year at the
2002 National Smooth Jazz Awards. While Tisdale reaps the rewards
of his music, there are other benefits. Says the 38-year-old, who
lives in Tulsa with his wife, Regina, and their four children,
"It's a lot easier on my knees, I can tell you that."

Jack McDowell

"I've always related to people better with music than I have
with sports," says the 1993 Cy Young Award winner, who in 12 big
league seasons was known as much for his hot head as for his
split-fingered fastball. Since retiring in 1999 McDowell has
channeled his intensity into his pop-alternative band
Stickfigure, which is a regular on the Southern California club
scene. "I was pigeonholed as this certain type of person in
baseball," says McDowell, 36, who lives outside San Diego with
his wife, Meridith, and their three kids. "The person inside of
me--the real Jack--was the person coming out in songs."

Kym Hampton

While playing hoops in Europe in the mid-'90s, the former
Arizona State standout would belt out Tina Turner covers on
Sunday nights to packed crowds at a club in Pavia, Italy. "They
thought I was a superstar," says Hampton, 39. After blowing out
her knee in '99 and retiring from the WNBA's New York Liberty,
she landed a gig as a backup vocalist on Luscious Jackson's
album Electric Honey. But Hampton, a single Brooklynite, doesn't
want to rush her new career. "You have to start out right," she
says, "because you don't get a second chance."

Tim Flannery

Music has always been a part of Flannery's life, but never did it
mean more to the former San Diego Padres infielder and current
third base coach than during his father's battle with
Alzheimer's. Flannery's critically acclaimed fourth album, Pieces
of the Past, featuring his trademark Irish folk- and
bluegrass-inflected tunes, was recorded as a tribute to his
father, Ragon, who died in 1999. Says the 44-year-old father of
three, "My music was the only way of connecting with him then."

Yannick Noah

In the U.S. he's best remembered as the passionate and
flamboyant Frenchman who won an emotional victory over Mats
Wilander in the 1983 French Open final. But in his home country
Noah, 42, is also known as a reggae singer, who with his band
Zam Zam hit No. 5 on France's charts in May with the
double-platinum album Yannick Noah. The 10-man outfit has been
together for 11 years, and Noah--a father of four whose
dreadlocks are modeled after those of Bob Marley--is preparing
to record the band's fifth album, in September, in France and
Brazil. "In tennis the only time you notice the audience is at
match point," says Noah. "Now it's a whole different world. It's
about the crowd. I perform for the people."

COLOR PHOTO: COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES SCHNEPF (OPPOSITE) ACE OF BASS "This is what I was born to do," says Tisdale. COLOR PHOTO: COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN (INSET) [See caption above] COLOR PHOTO: COLOR PHOTO: SCOTT ROVAK BIG HIT McDowell recently reached No. 8 on the new music charts. COLOR PHOTO: COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO (INSET) [See caption above] COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY BEN BAKER (ABOVE) LADY LIBERTY Hampton sings the anthem at New York games. COLOR PHOTO: COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER (INSET) [See caption above] COLOR PHOTO: TIM MANTOANI OLD COUNTRY Flannery has played for big crowds in Ireland. COLOR PHOTO: RONALD C. MODRA (INSET) [See caption above] COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY BOB MARTIN SOUND MIND "Music is like therapy," says Noah. "The more I sing the better I feel." COLOR PHOTO: SIMON BRUTY/GETTY IMAGES (INSET) [See caption above]