By H. Janér
Brazil has never been known for its basketball. In fact, only 17 players in NBA history have played for a team, and of those, only one player is active - Raul Neto, also known as Raulzinho.
However, what if I told you one of the greatest players in the history of the game is Brazilian?
When people think of prolific, all-time scorers, the same names come to mind all the time – Jabbar, Jordan, LeBron, Kobe, and many others. However, one name never seems to make the list – Oscar Schmidt. Schmidt, also known as Mão Santa (Holy Hand) played most of his career in Brazil, despite being drafted to the New Jersey Nets in 1984. Schmidt did not wish to play in the NBA, as he would not have been able to represent his Brazilian roots in the national team had he joined the league. This resulted in him spending roughly 13 years in Europe where he enjoyed 11 of them in Italy and 2 in Spain. In total, Schmidt’s career spanned an impressive 29 years, and during that period, he became the man considered to be the all-time scorer in the history of basketball; with 54,145 points in total, including the Brazilian national team.
Despite being unknown to most NBA fans, Schmidt might’ve been the reason the legendary 1992 USA Dream Team was assembled. In 1987, Schmidt scored 47 points and beat a seemingly unbeatable USA team in the Pan American Games to win gold. Additionally, Schmidt is one of late legend Kobe Bryant’s favourite all-time players and considered him a living legend upon watching him while living in Italy at his younger years.
Schmidt has countless records and feats which may never be beaten, and after being inducted to the FIBA Hall of Fame, his illustrious career will never be forgotten and always represent Brazilian sports.