Did you know that the first non-white person to ever play in the NBA was a Japanese-American? His name was Wat Misaka, and he was the first draft pick of the NY Knicks in 1947 &mdash three whole years before African-Americans were allowed to play in the league. This was just several years after he served in the US army, where part of his job was to go to places like Hiroshima and find out what the effects of repeated bombings on civilians were. Some of his family, including an uncle, still lived in the Hiroshima area, while others were interned at a camp in Utah.
Misaki apparently only played three games, but his name lives on on a plaque in Madison Square Garden, and he’s also the subject of a new documentary called Transcending: The Wat Misaka Story.
via NY Times (Thanks, Alex!)