TRANSCENDING - THE WAT MISAKA STORY is a documentary
film about Wat Misaka, the first person of color to be drafted into
what is now the NBA. A Nisei who was born, raised and is still
living in Utah, he was the very first draft pick of the New York
Knicks, in 1947. Overcoming the national political climate during
World War II, Wat was a star player for the University of Utah 1944
and 1947 championship teams, taking 2 years off in between to serve
in the U.S. Army. His perseverance and loyalty to his teammates,
other Nisei friends (including those interned at Topaz) and his
family are a testament to the unflappable Japanese American spirit.
This film includes in depth interviews with Wat and
his family, teammates from his championship teams (including All-American
star Arnie Ferrin of the Minneapolis Lakers) sports authorities (including
Knicks Historian Dennis D'Agostino and ubiquitous New York sportscaster
Spencer Ross), and many who continue to look up to him as both a
role model and personal hero. The film also has video clips from
his 1944 and 1947 college games, rare footage from a visit to the
Topaz Internment Camp, and countless photos of his triumphant career.
Directed by award winning filmmakers Bruce Alan Johnson
and Christine Toy Johnson, this project was awarded two consecutive
grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.
Plans are in motion to have screenings and accompanying panel discussions
on exclusion at universities across the country.