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

Pac-12, Annual Revenue, Logo...

Michelle Bodkin

Pac-12 Shares Record Financial Results From 2022-23 Fiscal Year

The Pac-12 Conference shared their financial results from the 2022-23 fiscal year noting they brought in record gains.

2 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Former Utah Football Player Greg Newman Has Passed Away, Family Raising Funds To Study CTE

Former Utah football standout defensive lineman Greg Newman has passed away according to a GoFundMe put out by his family.

2 days ago

kai roberts utah...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Baseball Ends Time In Pac-12 On High Note With Win Over Oregon In Pool Play

The Utah baseball season has likely come to an end at the Pac-12 Tournament going 1-1 in pool play with a win over the Oregon Ducks.

3 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Basketball Mourns Loss Of Kenny Gardner

The Runnin' Utes are mourning the loss of larger-than-life former player Kenny Gardner who passed away at the age of 75. 

3 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Time, Network Announced For Utah Football Season Finale Against UCF

Utah football just released the time and network for their last game of the 2024 season against the UCF Knights.

3 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Women’s Basketball Releases 2024-25 Roster, Jersey Numbers

Utah women's basketball is helping their fans learn the 2024-25 roster and jersey numbers, releasing a graphic on social media.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!


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.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

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.

Runnin’ Utes Legend Wat Misaka Memorialized By Ogden City