Japanese-American Wat Misaka, not only the first non-white player to play in the NBA but the Knicks' first-ever draft pick in 1947, wrote a congratulatory letter to Jeremy Lin when he made it to the league in 2010.
Misaka, 88, wanted to wish Lin good luck. He told him "Ganbare," which means "hang in there" in Japanese. Misaka's words must have paid off because, after being passed over in the 2010 NBA draft, cut by two teams in the same preseason and sent to the D-League, Lin has finally made a name for himself.
And Misaka has been paying close attention to the Taiwanese-American point guard's sudden rise. Misaka watched on TV on Monday night as the Knicks dominate his local team, the Jazz (Misaka lives 35 miles outside of Ogden, Utah, where he was born). In that game, Lin went for a career-high 28 points and eight assists.
"He's been an eye-opener," Misaka said from his home on Thursday. "He tore us apart on Monday. As a minority, it's been great to see what he can do. I hope he can keep it up."
Misaka has been most impressed with Lin's pick-and-roll game, getting into the lane and finding shooters. Lin piqued Misaka's interest so much that he wrote an e-mail to the Knicks, complimenting him on his recent play and wishing him success in the future. Lin did receive it and plans to call Misaka soon.
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