(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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