Subscribe

From Wilt Chamberlain to Jeremy Lin: 10 NBA 'firsts'

Jeremy Lin's rise on the NBA radar provides the impetus to look back at Wilt Chamberlain's highest-scoring game and nine other NBA 'firsts.'

2. The NBA’s first Asian-American player: Wataru “Wat” Misaka

That’s right, all those reports you may have read about Jeremy Lin being the NBA’s first Asian-American player were mistaken. Wat Misaka earned that distinction long, long ago, in 1947, when he played three games for the Knicks before being cut by the same team that now employs Lin. Misaka, a Japanese-American, grew up in Ogden, Utah, when wartime Japanese internment camps existed in the Western US.

Like Lin, he was a clever playmaking guard, but a much shorter one at only 5 ft. 7 in. (Lin is 6 ft. 3 in.).  That, Misaka thinks, may have been a factor in why the Knicks cut him. In college, however, he enjoyed a great run with the Utes, who won the 1944 NCAA championship by beating Dartmouth in overtime. In 1947 he was a mainstay on the team that won the NIT tournament in New York, which may have been the most coveted title in college basketball at the time. Utah defeated Kentucky in that championship game. Misaka, a retired engineer, now lives in Bountiful, Utah, and watches Lin’s career with great interest. 

2 of 10

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK