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Despite claims, Adidas endorser Jeremy Lin isn’t first Asian American to play pro ball in the United States

(From OregonLive.com) Lin was preceded by five players including Wataru “Wat” Misaka who played 1947-48 in the Basketball Association of America

Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin sometimes is mistakenly called “the first Asian-American player in the NBA.”

Adidas did so in a news release issued Monday about Lin’s joining the Germany-based brand for a sneaker contract, leaving Nike. The mistake was repeated on this blog.

But five other Asian Americans in professional basketball in the U.S preceded Lin:

  • Wataru “Wat” Misaka, who is Japanese-American, played for the New York Knicks in the Basketball Association of America in the 1947-48 season. The league merged with the NBA after the 1948-49 season.
  • Raymond Towsend, who is Filipino-American, played for the Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers, from 1978 to 1982.
  • Corey Gaines, who is African-American and whose mother is of Japanese descent, played for the then-New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks, from 1988 to 1994.
  • Rex Walters, who is Japanese-American, played for the then-New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat, from 1993 to 2000.
  • Robert Swift, who is American and whose father is half Okinawan, played for the Seattle Supersonics and Oklahoma City Thunder, from 2004 to 2009.

— Allan Brettman

Despite claims, Adidas endorser Jeremy Lin isn’t first Asian American to play pro ball in the United States

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