Film Screening Features WSU Basketball Legend Who Broke NBA Race Barrier
OGDEN, Utah – Wat Misaka helped lead Weber State Wildcats to the ICAC (Intermountain Collegiate Athletics Conference) championships in 1942 and 1943, before becoming the first non-white player in the history of the Basketball Association of America, a precursor to the NBA.
Weber State University Archives will host the film “Transcending - The Wat Misaka Story” Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. The campus community is invited to meet Misaka beforehand, from noon to 1 p.m., and enjoy light refreshments. A question-and-answer session with filmmakers Christine Toy Johnson and Bruce Johnson will follow from 2-2:30 p.m.
Misaka was born and raised in Ogden. This summer, the city named the newly resurfaced public court at Liberty Park, 751 21st St., “Kilowatt Court.” Misaka earned the nickname “Kilowatt” as a standout player at Ogden High.
After leading Ogden High, Weber College and the University of Utah to various championships, Misaka served two years in the U.S. Army. Despite the anti-Japanese sentiment during World War II, Misaka was the very first draft pick of the New York Knicks, in 1947. His professional basketball career was short, playing only three games and scoring seven points. Misaka defers talk of racism, and credits the decision to the Knicks having many guards as well as his 5-foot-7-inch height.
Misaka returned to Utah to earn a degree and work as an engineer. He was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Weber State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.
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