professional basketball's japanese american pioneer

I've written about Wat Misaka here several times before. Sixty-two years ago -- the same year Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color line -- 5-ft-7 Wat Misaka was the first draft choice of the Knicks, quietly becoming the first non-Caucasian player in modern professional basketball. This was 1947, three years before African Americans were included.

He only played three games, but the man is a true pioneer in professional sports. Since the day he was cut in the fall of 1947, Misaka had not been back to New York. But this week, he returned to Madison Square Garden: Pioneering Knick Returns to Garden.

Misaka's life and career are celebrated in a documentary, Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story, directed by Bruce Alan Johnson and Christine Toy Johnson. Though I've heard a lot about the film, I haven't seen it yet. But I got a big kick out of the trailer, which includes old footage of Wat Misaka's moves on the court. Learn more about the documentary here.

angry archive