Oscar Schmidt was a basketball legend – he got drafted but never played in the NBA.
When Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird say someone is special – believe that they are special. Oscar Schmidt was exactly that. He never played a single game in the NBA but was heralded as the best player ever to play outside of it. He had a fan following like no other – he was the Michael Jackson of Basketball in Brazil.
49,737 points – That is the total number of points he’s scored in his lifetime. To put into context, the league leader LeBron James has scored 44,693 points in 19 seasons. To catch up to Schmidt, he would have to play at this level for 3 more seasons.
Playing his whole career outside of America, Oscar won 7 top scorer awards in Italy and 10 top scorers in Brazil. Even with all the achievements abroad, he was not viewed as good enough to be a high-ranking draft pick. He got picked in the sixth round, and he was hurt that he was not getting his due recognition.
Oscar “Holy Hand” Schmidt holds the record for the most number of points in the Olympics
He decided to not join the New Jersey Nets, and continue playing in Brazil. The rules of FIBA at that time had NBA players banned from playing in the Olympics. If he did that, all these Olympics records would look so different right now. He has 1093 points in the Summer Olympics and 7693 points for the senior national team.
Mão Santa foi um jogador incrível (Holy Hands was an incredible player). He played in an age where Brazilians would do anything for money – but he chose patriotism over fat stacks of cash. If the rules could have been changed 5 years before 1989 we could have seen one of the best foreign players in the NBA.
We look at Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter for longevity, but Schmidt played for 29 years. That is 10 more than LeBron James currently! Even if he didn’t play in the toughest league, 29 years is still exceptional.
The 1984 draft class yielded not one but two G.O.A.Ts. one was Michael Jordan, the other was Oscar Daniel Bezerra Schmidt.
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