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Basketball IQ: What country won the basketball gold medal in the 1987 Pan-Am Games?

June 28, 2014
The Pan-American Games is a sporting event that holds various athletic competitions for countries in the Americas. In 1987, Indianapolis played host to the tournament.

In the basketball gold medal game, the home team faced Brazil. Everybody on earth expected USA, featuring the likes of future NBA mainstays Danny Manning, Dan Majerle, Rex Chapman, and David Robinson, to trample the visitors. But Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt had other plans.

The Brazilian sharpshooter was unfazed by the luster of the American collegiate stars as he torched them with 35 points—in the second half. USA didn’t go down without a fight but Schmidt was just too much. The man known as Mão Santa, meaning “Holy Hand,” finished with a total of 46 points to give Brazil the gold medal.

Schmidt went on to become one of the most successful basketball players ever as he continued to play for the Brazilian National Team and as a professional in Europe. He’s touted as the best player to never suit up in the NBA. He’s also considered as the all-time leading scorer in all of basketball with 49,737 career points from pro and international stints. He was inducted to the Naismith Hall of Fame last September.