BallinEurope wishes a happy birthday to longtime Team Brazil, Spanish League and Italian Serie A legend Oscar Schmidt, who today is 54 years old.
Over a career spanning three decades and five Olympic Games, Schmidt scored a total of 49,703 career points, recognized by FIBA as the most-ever in a career.
(The identity of the second-highest point scorer remains a bit elusive for BiE, but for comparison’s sake, all-time NBA scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was good for 38,387 in his playing days; Nikos Gallis totaled 24,759 in all competitions.)
Outside of Europe – where Oscar had turns with Fórum Valladolid, Juve Caserta, and the now-defunct Pallacanestro Pavia – Schmidt is mostly known for 46 specific points of his nearly 50,000: Namely, his nearly one-man torching of Team USA (Marcel Souza contributed 31) in the gold-medal game of the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis. Not only did this victory end the US’ 34-game Pan Am winning streak, gold for Brazil also meant the end of the accepted dominance of Team USA in international hoops competitions – at least under the format then.
Indeed, the Los Angeles Times noted back in ’87 after the gold-medal game that “The din of the raucous celebration by the Brazilian basketball team and its fiery little band of flag-waving supporters had not fully subsided before Americans were wondering if maybe the United States should use Magic Johnson and Larry Bird the next time out.”
The rest, as they say, has been history. Many happy returns, Oscar!