Reminiscing: Brazil 120, USA 115

Exactly 20 years ago in Indianapolis the Brazilian National team beat the USA squad by the score of 120 to 115 in the finals of the Pan American Games. As normal as this might sound today, the fact that an American squad was beaten by a foreign team in 1987 was by no means an easy task.

Many say that this was America’s first striking loss in the world of basketball. With a national team represented by a group of college all-stars that included Rex Chapman, David Robinson, Keith Smart, and Danny Manning, and coached by the incredible Chuck Daly, the Americans couldn’t do much besides watch Oscar Schmidt and Marcel de Souza’s drop their treys into the hoop.

It was one of the most spectacular nights of Brazilian basketball and to this day this game is being watched and analyzed by a horde of fans and basketball enthusiasts. What really happened that day? It has been said that Oscar and his teammates challenged the Americans by daring them to shoot and leaving them open to do it so. By using their experience the Brazilians shocked their opponents and quickly gained control of the match.

To this date some people think that team didn’t provide any solid tactical scheme to beat the Americans. It was all a matter of a great evening by two of the world’s top players at that time, Oscar and Marcel. On the other hand there’s a group that believes the team had indeed a great scheme to hold the Americans in their own turf and Ary Vidal, Brazil’s coach at that time, is seen by many as a guru.

What really happened? It’s yet to be seen a great documentary or report that would reveal the untold story. All we have are bits and pieces of one of the great stories of Brazilian basketball, but the main characters haven’t spoken yet. Not in depth… All it rests are a few images of that wonderful night,

Could something similar happen in Vegas? If it does, the glamour won’t be there.

Indiana is the home of basketball whereas Vegas is a place for gamblers…


One thought on “Reminiscing: Brazil 120, USA 115

  1. Great post Gustavo!

    I watched Brazil play Canada last night and was impressed with how head coach Aluisio Ferreira had his team playing and that he was able to get Nene to agree to come off the bench. Barbosa was a terror on the court (game high 30 points and 18 of Brazil’s first 32 points) while Splitter showed a lot of maturity since I last saw him play.

    Brazil may not have the “star power” that the US has but they are playing like a team. Because of that I’ll be rooting for Brazil tonight and I won’t be surprised if this game goes down to the wire.

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