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Obituaries

Wat Misaka, the first Japanese player in pro basketball, dies at 95

Wataru “Wat” Misaka
A display featuring professional basketball player Wat Misaka is part of the"More Than a Game” exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Wataru “Wat” Misaka, the first player of Japanese descent to play in the league that was the predecessor to the NBA, has died. He was 95.

The University of Utah athletic department said in a news release Thursday that Misaka died Wednesday in Salt Lake City. He grew up in Ogden, Utah.

Mikasa was the point guard on the Utah team that won the NCAA Tournament in 1944 and the NIT in 1947.

Misaka played three games for the New York Knicks during the 1947-48 season in the Basketball Association of America.

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A 2008 documentary called “Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story” told the story of what Misaka went through as a trailblazing athlete.

Misaka attended a 2013 Utah Jazz game to watch Jeremy Lin play.


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