Oscar Schmidt – A Retrospective





Every two years at the FIBA World Championships or Summer Olympics, we are treated to plenty of talented (non – NBA) international basketball players that otherwise are off our radar. Back in the ’80s, one such Brazilian player dominated like nobody before him or since.

Oscar Schmidt was a unathletic 6-8 wing that could score on anybody, Americans included. His game was predicated on his shooting ability; a vast array of step-backs, fall-aways, runners, pull-ups, and long threes made him very hard to defend. Factor in his competitiveness, confidence, and showmanship and you have an unforgettable basketball player – easily the best one never to play in the NBA.

Schmidt was pursued several times by NBA teams, but playing in the league at that time would render him ineligible for the Brazil National Team. It was an easy decision for Schmidt, as he was making good money playing in Europe, and he loved competing for his country.

To get an idea of his scoring acumen, lets take a look at some of his most impressive feats:

  • 24 pts per game in the ’80 Olympics as a 22 yr old
  • 46 pts (35 in the 2nd half) in the ’87 Pan-Am Final comeback win vs a USA team featuring David Robinson and Danny Manning
  • An Olympic record 55 pts vs Spain in the ’88 Olympics
  • 42 ppg in ’88, including a four game stretch of 55, 46,46, and 41
  • 24 vs the Dream Team in ’92 (checked by Jordan, Pippen, and Drexler) at age 34
  • 27 ppg in the ’96 games at age 38, including 45 in the opener
  • 49,737 points in his club & national team career over 30 years (11,350 more than Kareem)


This short three-minute feature deserves your time, and summarizes his career and his effect on a global scale. The Hall of Famer known simply as “Oscar” is one of the best players that many of  today’s hoops fans have sadly never heard of.


Stats and info courtesy of basketball-reference.com

Video courtesy of YouTube



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