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We have been so inspired by this wonderful man and
his story of overcoming the racial hostility of the 1940s to become
the first person of color to be drafted into what is now the NBA
-- and know that you will be, too. Also please check out a great
article that appeared in Sports Illustrated about
that 1944 Utah Cinderella Team written by Alexander Wolff and Michael
December 20, 2009, the New York Knicks celebrated Wat
center court at Madison Square Garden, recognizing, at
long last, his place in basketball history. "Once
a Knick, always a Knick!" back
BBC Radio interview
in Madison Square Garden
Go to the photo
journal for descriptions of these and more photos.
we first saw Wat Misaka's picture in Paul Osaki's office
at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern
California in September of 2006, we never imagined what joys
would come to us in the three years that followed.
this documentary about Wat and his incredible story, we have
seen lives impacted and dreams affirmed. People across the
country, from ages nine to ninety, have moved us with their
tales of inspiration from hearing how Wat Misaka triumphed
over adversity. At
a time when racism against Japanese Americans was at its all
time high, Wat became not only the first draft pick ever for
the New York Knicks, but the first collegiate draft pick in
professional basketball history.
Yet until recently
he has not been acknowledged by either history books or the
Basketball Hall of Fame as the barrier-breaker that he was. Sixty-two
years later, we watched him get welcomed into the NBA Legends
Organization during the NBA All Star Weekend, then welcomed
back to the "new" Madison Square Garden and NYC
by the Knicks. Not only did famed New York Times sports writer
George Vecsey celebrate the fact that "history had rediscovered
him", but finally, so did a legendary building in Springfield,
Massachusetts. For on August 8, 2009, we witnessed with great
pride together, the inclusion, at long last, of Wat Misaka's
profile in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
We were given the Emerging Eye Directorial Discovery
were asked to screen our film as part of the 4th
annual Roving Eye Documentary Film Festival.
That year the festival was on the campus of Roger Williams
University in Bristol, Rhode Island. The focus of the
festival is to bring innovative documentary programming
into local communities and to engage students, academics,
and community members in constructive dialogue.
recently returned from the Honolulu International
Film Festival, where we won a "Gold
Kahuna Award for Excellence in Filmmaking".
We held six screenings in Hawaii, and were especially
proud to be invited to President Obama's alma mater,
where we shared the film with over 275 of our future