The successors of Oscar Schmidt and Kresimir Cosic
By John Askounis/
The FIBA Intercontinental Cup is coming our way on February 15th from Rio de Janeiro. Carioca Arena 1 will hold the games of the revamped Final Four format. Flamengo will host Basketball Champions League title holders AEK, the FIBA Americas League winners San Lorenzo and the NBA G League Champions Austin . The must-anticipated games will give the four clubs the chance to add pages in the history books of the storied competition.
In the past, many legends have played in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup. Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt, who finished his playing career as a Flamengo player in 2003, helped his country’s Sirio become FIBA Intercontinental Cup Champions in 1979 pouring 42 points in the decisive double-overtime win over Bosna. Back then, five teams competed in a round-robin format and the Brazilian team secured first place on October 6th with a 100-98 victory following the 88-88 tie in regulation and the 92-92 score after the first period of extra time.
It was a game for the ages played at Sao Paulo, one of the first big performances from Schmidt who went on to enter legendary status becoming one of the top players in basketball history. He was the 131st pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, but never played in the NBA. He was idolized by many future basketball greats, set scoring records that will never be broken, won several championships in Brazil, South American club and National Teams competitions and is considered one of the greatest players not to play in the NBA.
He always wanted to help the Brazilian National Team and until 1989 NBA players weren’t allowed to play for their country in FIBA competitions. However, being in Europe didn’t cause any such issues. After leaving his mark in Italy and Spain, he returned to Brazil in 1995 and played the four final seasons of his career with Flamengo up to his retirement in 2003. The Mengao were one of the four teams that retired a jersey in his honor, #14 shortly after he called it a day.
Schmidt was the Brazilian League’s top scorer the last eight years of his record-breaking career, four of those years he put his final touches on his scoring records with Flamengo. He averaged 34.9 points in 2000, 33 in 2001, 34.8 in 2002 and 33.1 in 2003. However, he never got his fourth Brazilian Championship as Flamengo was the runner-up in 2000 and eliminated in the playoffs quarterfinals stage in his other three seasons.
Afterwards, in 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, Fla did rise to the top of Brazilian basketball. Besides their first six domestic titles, the Brazilians also won the Americas League and the Intercontinental Cup in 2014. Schmidt legacy’s led them to glory and his heirs now have the chance to double-up their success in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup playing in home soil from February 15th to February 17th.