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Nets to honor the one who got away

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards - NBA Global Games Rio 2013 Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images

The Nets of the mid-80's weren't a bad club, with the likes of Mike Gminski, Michael Ray Richardson, Buck Williams, Darryl Dawkins and Otis Birdsong. They outdrew the Knicks.

Imagine if the Nets had one of the best players ever back then. It almost happened. On Monday, the Nets will honor the one who got away... Oscar Schmidt of Brazil

Already inducted into the Hall of Fame, and 33 years after he was drafted by the Nets in the sixth round — the first international pick ... ever, Schmidt will be introduced prior to the game vs. the Grizzlies. The Nets will present Schmidt with a celebratory team jersey.

Fans in Brazil can watch the ceremony live via ESPN, International NBA LEAGUE PASS and WatchESPN. Celebratory Brooklyn Nets Schmidt jerseys will be available for purchase in-arena on game day and on LojaNBA.com.

Schmidt never played in the NBA, but the man who Brazilan fans called "Holy Hand" said it wasn't because the Nets didn't try.

Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com wrote in 2013 when Schmidt was inducted into the Hall of Fame...

"Signing with the NBA at that time would have meant being ineligible for the national team, and Schmidt was not willing to make that tradeoff. The Nets pursued him three years in a row, he said, but no way. After the rules were changed to allow the Dream Team to play in the 1992 Olympics, sure, except that Schmidt was 34 by the time of the historic Barcelona Games. It would be different under the current rules."

Although he could still play --he averaged 42.3 in the Barcelona Olympics-- he was set in his ways. And he was not short on humility.

"I would be one of the best 10 ever," he told Howard-Cooper at the Hall of Fame. "Give me two months of practice, I kill everybody else."

Back in 1989, Schmidt and Drazen Petrovic played in one of basketball’s great shootouts. The two scored 106 points between them...

Schmidt will be playing in the 2017 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. ET, which will air live on ESPN from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.