The 1984 NBA draft, featuring Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton among others, is often regarded as one of the best of all time. However, there’s one player who is rarely mentioned in NBA circles, but he also got drafted that year — Oscar Schmidt, aka. The Holy Hand.
Oscar, or Mão Santa, as they called him in his homeland of Brazil, was drafted by the New Jersey Nets as the 131st pick in the 1984 NBA draft.
Oscar decided to never play in the NBA and went on to score 49,737 points throughout his career, 11350 more than Kareem! He was partly offended by not being picked earlier, and going to the US meant he would never play for the Brasilian national team again; those were the rules.
Oscar was one of the great scorers of our time; he was hard to stop; you couldn’t guard him with one player. And the way he moved, I mean he created any shot he wanted.Larry Bird
Three years after the ’84 draft, Brasil and USA met in the gold-medal game of the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis. Team USA featured David Robinson, Danny Manning, and Rex Chapman, along with several other future NBA players.
Brazil faced a 68-54 halftime deficit. That’s when Oscar took over and almost single-handedly led Brazil to a stunning comeback, scoring 35 second-half points to help lead Brazil to a 120-115 victory over the United States. He finished with 46 points, proving himself more than worthy of the NBA.
The list of Schmidt’s scoring honors is as long as the best of them, to mention a few: 8-time top scorer in the Brazilian league, 7-time top scorer in Italian League, 1-time top scorer in the Spanish league. He’s also the top scorer in the history of the Olympics Games for men’s basketball. The Holy hand was a force to be reckoned with.
Oscar was one of the greatest offensive players of all time, and it’s a shame the NBA wasn’t as open to international players as it is today. Imagine the likes of Sabonis, Schmidt, and Dalipagic playing their prime basketball in the league.