89-year old Wataru Misaka was the first player of Asian descent to play in the NBA. Tonight he sat court side in Utah to watch Lin warm up, reported ESPN.
Misaka now makes Utah his home and was a a point guard for the New York Knicks during the 1947-48 season. He led the University of Utah to an NCAA championship in 1944. Lin is well aware of the historic connection he has with Misaka.
“He broke a lot of barriers and racial stereotypes,” Lin told the Houston Chronicle of Misaka. “You have to pay respect to the people who came before you.” Lin said.
Misaka actually reached out to Lin first when he was struggling on the bench with the Golden State Warriors. Misaka remembers writing Lin a note of encouragement.
“He didn’t have all these fans at this time but he’s made a lot of progress since then,” said Misaka, “and I think he’s in a much better place now.”
That was definitely true tonight as Lin went 5 for 5 on the way to scoring 12 points on top of 7 assists. The Rockets walloped the Utah Jazz 125 to 80. The Jazz had entered that game having won 6 straight home games.