Oscar Schmidt Rumors
He’d made some noise over the years about not wanting to take a limited role in the league. His friend Georgi Glouchkov, a Bulgarian forward and the first Eastern Bloc player in the NBA, complained to Schmidt that he couldn’t get touches. And this is Oscar Schmidt we’re talking about: If you’re not gunning, why are you even alive? Greg Dole, a former Brazilian basketball scout, recalls training with Nene before the 2002 draft. “Nene said, ‘If I get drafted in the first round, I’m gonna buy a team in Brazil and sign Oscar,’” Dole says. “‘And order him to pass the ball!’” By the time the international rules changed, Schmidt was 35. “Too old to be a hookie,” he says, swapping his r’s for h’s in the Brazilian style.
Oscar Schmidt was the band you loved fiercely and could never convince anyone else was the greatest thing on earth. Oscar Schmidt was indie rock. Kobe’s call? “No question,” he says, “he would have been one of the greatest.” In ’95, after a short, unsatisfying stint in Spain, Schmidt finally came home. He spent his last few years at Flamengo, an all-sports club and a dynasty — the Yankees of Brazil. There, in his forties, he made the best money of his career. How did he manage at such an advanced age? “I don’t waste my energy,” he says. “I start to have more precision.” He smiles. “And I start to defend only in the second half.”
Screenwriter R. Scott Shields has been tapped to write an untitled biopic on Brazilian basketball star Oscar Schmidt. The untitled project is being produced by Rafinha Bastos and is expected to shoot in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Known as one of the greatest shooters in the history of the game, Schmidt turned down an offer to play in the NBA in the 1980s, choosing to retain his amateur status in order to represent Brazil in international competition.
05 Apr 14
Schmidt said it was their own doing, while mentioning other players from Brazil and other countries that play for their national team. Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson “Varejao, most of the time comes. [San Antonio Spurs forward] Tiago Splitter – fantastic. But Leandro and Nene. They have problems. They have big problems and I hate to say. I hate to say,” Schmidt said. Nene “just come to the Olympics? Who doesn’t want to play in the Olympics? Everyone! Everyone! [Manu] Ginobili goes every time [and Luis] Scola goes every time [for Argentina]. Tony Parker goes every time [for France]. Dirk Nowitzki goes every time [for Germany]. All the Dream Team in America. And why not ours? So…okay?”
For years, the Wizards were saved from true national punchline status by the Clippers. Now the Clippers are respectable, and apparently the Wizards have taken their place in all those jokes. Thus, this passage from Oscar Schmidt’s acceptance speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday. (Watch it here.) “Then I must thank Cláudio Mortari,” Schmidt said, during a portion of his speech when he was thanking everyone. “This guy’s tough. This guy win wherever he goes. If he came to the Wizards, they win. Yes! I don’t know what championship he would win, but he’ll win.”
As it stands, Schmidt’s legacy in basketball is nearly unmatched, particularly outside of the United States. Like American fans talk about Kobe, LeBron, Magic, Michael and Larry, millions of Europeans and Brazilians simply refer to Schmidt using his first name. “Anytime you only have one name you’re pretty famous,” said Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, who played against Schmidt in the Italian league. “If you just say Oscar, everybody knew who that was.”
As for Kobe? Schmidt considers him among the sport’s all-time greats along with LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird. Other than that quintet, Schmidt wasn’t about to concede anyone else would have been better than him if he had played in the NBA. He’s so convinced of his presumed dominance, in fact, that he thinks he would have averaged at least a point a minute. “I would be one of the best 10 ever,” he said.
Schmidt, 55, said he works about eight months of the year as a motivational speaker in Brazil and spends the other four vacationing around the world. While on one of the holidays, while driving in Orlando, Fla., he got word of the Hall election. “A guy from FIBA called me and said, ‘Hey, you are in the Hall of Fame,’ ” Schmidt recalled. “I said, ‘I know. I did that two years ago (with the induction in the FIBA Hall). You don’t remember?’ ‘No, you are in the Springfield Hall of Fame.’ I stopped the car immediately. ‘Can you repeat.’ ‘You are in the Hall of Fame in Springfield.’ Wow. Legs shaking. This is the best moment of my career.”
One other thing as the ceremony approaches: Schmidt, a star in his native Brazil and also Italy, is at the Hall about 4 and 1/2 months after undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumor, following a similar procedure about two years ago. He said he is in good health – “I’m cured, man” – but also does chemotherapy. “And now, I am spending everything I gained,” he said. “All the money I get. And I get a lot of money. Lots of money, I get.”
Schmidt was asked what he would have averaged in the NBA and said, “One point a minute. Twenty minutes, 20 points. Forty minutes, maybe 60.” C’mon. Get serious. “Did you see me play?” Schmidt fired back. But a point a minute? “One point a minute at least,” he said. “Do you know how many hours I practiced a day.” Eight, he answered.
Signing with the NBA at that time would have meant being ineligible for the national team, and Schmidt was not willing to make that tradeoff. The Nets pursued him three years in a row, he said, but no way. After the rules were changed to allow the Dream Team to play in the 1992 Olympics, sure, except that Schmidt was 34 by the time of the historic Barcelona Games. It would be different under the current rules. “Give me two months of practice, I kill everybody else,” he said Saturday at the Hall of Fame, the day before the induction ceremony. Another big laugh. “There was not a price [the Nets could have offered]. There was national team. That’s it. The national team doesn’t have a price. It’s proud. It’s what you live for. And today, people don’t like to play for the national team. That’s very sad for me.”
He has a personality that splashes everywhere and a big laugh to match. Not quite a Magic Johnson shakes-the-walls laugh, but not far off either. Except that Oscar Schmidt is being serious now. He said he would have been one of the 10 best players in the NBA if the basketball world had been different in the 1970s and ‘80s, and he came to the United States. And not one of the 10 best in the league. One of the 10 best ever, “Yes,” Schmidt said. “Anytime. It was easier, because in the NBA at that time it was one-on-one, always. One-on-one, I’m free. If it comes to two players guarding me, maybe.” Insert big laugh. “I would be one of the best 10 ever.”
Anderson Varejao: My thoughts and prayers go to our idol #OscarSchmidt. That he may recover as soon as possible
Basketball star Oscar Schmidt will carry the Olympic flame into Warrington town centre on Thursday. The 54-year-old, 6ft 8in star, is the leading points scorer in Olympic history and was inducted into the world basketball hall of fame in 2010. He is widely considered to be the best basketball player never to have competed in the NBA. He will hand the torch to John Paul Smith, aged 25, from Rainhill, at the fountain by the skittle in the centre of town.