Wat Takes His Shot: The Life & Legacy of Basketball Hero Wataru Misaka
By Cheryl Kim
Illustrated by Nat Iwata
As a kid, Wataru Misaka channeled his endless energy into playing sports. Every Sunday, he raced to the park where his Japanese American community came together to play basketball. Wat wasn't the tallest on the team, but he was fast and loved the game! Encouraged by his father to always do his best, Wat applied this mentality to every aspect and challenge in his life.
Wat was a college student when the US government forced more than 122,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast into incarceration camps during WWII. He overcame racism and segregation to join his college's basketball team but despite Wat's impressive skills, he was treated as an outsider because he was Japanese American. Wat kept his eye on the ball, and his team-player mentality made him shine on and off the court. He became an inspiration to his Japanese American community. After helping Utah University's basketball team win the national championship in 1947, Wat was drafted by the New York Knicks, making him the first person of color to play in the NBA.
Wat's motivational story of rising to any challenge and bringing your best to everything you do is a reminder of the power we each have to inspire others--if we just take our shot!
About the Creators
Cheryl Kim is an elementary school teacher from San Jose, California, and teaches second grade at an international school in Thailand. She received the SCBWI Kate Dopirak Craft and Community Award for her original manuscript for Wat Takes His Shot. When she's not teaching or writing, she enjoys watching professional basketball with her husband and sons. Visit her online at cherylkimbooks.com.
NAT IWATA is an artist working in the entertainment industry. Nat has practiced a little aikido but has yet to try sumo wrestling. He lives in the beautiful Dutch city of Haarlem with his wife and three boys, all of whom serve as an endless source of encouragement and inspiration. You can visit him online at iwataillustration.com.