Wat Kept Playing: The Inspiring Story of Wataru Misaka and His Rise to the NBA

Item # 152085.

Written by Emily Inouye Huey. Illustrated by Kaye Kang.

As the child of Japanese immigrants, Wataru “Wat” Misaka often felt like he didn’t fully belong in either Japanese or American culture. He was sometimes excluded, treated differently, and bullied, even though he was born in the United States. As he grew up, however, Wat discovered he had a very special talent for playing basketball. Even at just five foot seven, he was unstoppable.

After leading his high school team to a state championship, Wat played for the Utah Utes and helped the team win the 1944 NCAA championship. Wat kept playing even as Japanese Americans from the West Coast were sent to incarceration camps for the duration of World War II. Then, after two years serving in the United States Army, Wat returned to basketball, leading the University of Utah to Madison Square Garden and winning another national championship. The cheering crowd recognized Wat the way he wanted to be seen—as a person who was both Japanese and American and an amazing basketball player. Talent scouts from the New York Knicks were so impressed, they drafted Wat to their team. Wat’s undeniable talent changed history as he became the first person of color to play in the NBA.

Hardbound: 32 pp. 

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Collections: Books & Media, What's New

Type: book


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