I have never made it a secret about my love for the Olympics, warts and all. I covered 11 of them, starting with Barcelona in 1992 and concluding with London in 2012. I loved the atmosphere, the competition and the buzz of every Olympics I attended. Now you know there’s a “but” coming.
Dirk Nowitzki joined Kareem Abdul-jabbar, Karl Malone, Wilt Chanberlain, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in the 30,000 point club this past week. Can there be any doubt he is the greatest European-born basketball player of all-time? As to whether or not he is the greatest player born anywhere outside the United States, the argument would include Hakeen Olajuwon (Nigeria). Patrick Ewing (Jamaica), Yao Ming (China) and Manu Ginobili (Argentina), among others. Just for the fun of it, I would also submit the name of the wondrous Oscar Schmidt, the 5-time Brazilian Olympian who has scored more points than anyone in total international competition, a whopping 49,737. This does not include his record Olympic total of 1093 points. Oscar was drafted by the Nets in the way back but never received satisfactory contract offers. Well-remembered is the 46 the 6-8 marksman dropped on the USA squad in the 1987 Indianapolis Pan-Am Games. He is in the Naismith Hall of Fame and he stole the show the year of his induction with his witty and charming speech.