UTAH UTES

Runnin’ Utes Legend Wat Misaka Memorialized By Ogden City

Jun 29, 2022, 12:01 PM

Wataru Misaka is a Utah Native who attended the University of Utah and became the first non-white N...

Wataru Misaka is a Utah Native who attended the University of Utah and became the first non-white NBA player in the history of the association (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY- They say legends never die and that certainly appears to be true of former Runnin’ Utes point guard Wat Misaka. The University of Utah Athletics’ twitter account revealed early Wednesday that a horse statue on historic 25th street in downtown Ogden was painted in commemoration of Misaka’s feats during a time when Japanese-Americans were feared. The horse is located in front of the building Misaka lived in while growing up in Ogden, Utah.

The Legend Of Misaka

Misaka came up in a volatile time for Japanese-Americans playing basketball at Ogden High and then later college ball at both Weber State (1941-1943) and the University of Utah (1943-1944, 1946-1947) while others were being forced into internment camps. The break in Misaka’s Utah career was due to being drafted into World War II where he earned the rank of staff sergeant over two years. Misaka and the Utes were responsible for two National Championships in four years for the University of Utah.

Misaka continued to breakdown barriers after his college career was over being taken in the 7th round of the 1947 BAA Draft (later the NBA) by the New York Knicks (the same year Jackie Robinson broke into the MLB). The “bold” pick at the time made Misaka the first person of color to ever play in the National Basketball Association. The first Black athlete did not play in the league until 1950.

While Misaka’s pro career was short- he only accounted for three games and seven points during his time with the Knicks, it was meaningful and helped open the doors for many other minority groups in the future. Misaka’s efforts earned him a spot in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 while being inducted into the Crimson Club Hall of Fame in 2011. On January 22, 2022, Misaka’s number 20 jersey was retired by the University of Utah. Unfortunately, Misaka wasn’t able to see the latest honors bestowed to him as he passed away at the age of 95 in 2019.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes

Rice Eccles Stadium general view at University of Utah - How to watch Utah Football...

Chandler Holt

How To Watch Utah Football V. Weber State Wildcats

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Utes football team returns home for a game against in-state opponent Weber State on Saturday. Here is how you can watch, stream, and listen to stay caught up with all the action. How to watch Utah Utes Football vs. Weber State Wildcats football game The Utes host the Wildcats […]

5 months ago

Pac-12-Light-Display-At-Media-Day-Las-Vegas-2023...

Michelle Bodkin

Pac-12 Power Rankings: ‘Conference Of Champions’ Continues Impressive Roll

The Pac-12 continued to roll in week two of the 2023 college football season while now having eight total teams in the latest AP Top 25 Poll.

5 months ago

Kedon Slovis #10 of the Brigham Young Cougars throws a pass...

Ben Anderson

Big 12, PAC-12 Power Poll Week Three

The college football season is fully underway and that means it’s time for week three of the BIG-12 PAC-12 Power Poll.

5 months ago

Nate Johnson - Utah Utes vs. Arizona...

Michelle Bodkin

Nate Johnson Takes Over As Backup Quarterback For Utah Football

Redshirt freshman Nate Johnson has been elevated to QB2 for Utah football after his late-game heroics secured the win against Baylor.

5 months ago

nate-johnson-bryson-barnes-light-the-u-after-florida-victory-at-res-2023...

Michelle Bodkin

Opinion: Did The Utes Play The Right Backup Quarterback?

The Utes have had an interesting history with quarterbacks- particularly since joining the Pac-12 and 2023 has been no different.

5 months ago

Jaylon-Glover-Utah-Utes-Football...

Kyle Ireland

Week 2: Top Plays From BYU, SUU, Utah, USU, Utah Tech, Weber State

Here are the top plays from the local college football teams, including BYU, Utah, and USU, from Week 2 of the 2023 season.

6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.

ksl sports logos...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

jimmy-buffett-tour-art...

KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.

Runnin’ Utes Legend Wat Misaka Memorialized By Ogden City