When Wataru "Wat" Misaka passed away on Nov. 20, he left an indelible legacy on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. He showed what was possible for someone who looked like he did on the basketball court. And to his eternal credit, he reached the highest level.

Misaka was a hero and a role model to generations of basketball players, many of whom had never heard of him until he was in his 80s (more on that below).

And so, this much is certain: Wherever and whenever a Japanese or Japanese-American plays basketball, it's a fitting tribute to Misaka, a humble man from Ogden, Utah, who made history on the court.