When Luis Scola started this World Cup in China with Argentina, it would already be his fifth World Cup in service of his country. There are only six other players in the entire world that can say the same. In his second game in this World Cup, Scola did something the other six definitely didn’t. By scoring 23 points against Nigeria, Scola became the second player on the list of all-time scorers during a World Cup. Now, he only trails behind the Brazilian scoring machine Oscar Schmidt, and is followed by the Australian Andrew Gaze.
Schmidt (retired) leads the list with 902 points, Scola has 611 (and counting) and Gaze (also retired) has 594 points. As the tournament is far from over for Luis Scola and Argentina, Scola will be adding some points to this list. This is an amazing achievement for the 39-year-old Scola, who has assembled an impressive track record over the years.
Basketball has been in his blood since birth, as his father already played for the Argentinian national team. As a 15-year-old boy, Scola set his first record, as he was the youngest player ever to play in the highest Argentinian basketball league. Three years later, in 1998, his years in Argentina were over, as he had learned enough, and Scola made the step to go overseas to play in Spain. He ended up playing a season with Gijon in the second Spanish division.
Despite the fact he was homesick, Scola remained in Spain, and a year later, he had made such a lasting impression that he made his debut as the youngest foreign player in the ACB for Tau Ceramica.
From that point, it didn’t take long before he was noticed by the Argentinian national head coach, and with his buddies Manu Ginobili and Andres Nocioni, he remained the face of the national basketball team for years to come.
During his first World Cup in 2002 in Indianapolis, Scola scored 14 points in his first game against Venezuela. It was the same World Cup, when the Argentinians beat the United States with 87-80, a historic defeat for the Americans. It was the first time since the US had decided to use NBA players in international games that they lost a game, after a 58-game winning streak. Against the US, Scola scored 13 points against his direct opponents, Ben Wallace and Elton Brand.
Eight years later, during the 2010 World Cup, he scored 37 points against Brazil, and that is another one of his records. Never before had an Argentinian player scored so many points in a World Cup game. There, Scola also became the All-Time Top Scorer of the Argentinian team.
Scola is definitely not done yet, as he has already made clear that he’s planning to go to the Olympics in Tokyo next year. When Argentina has a good performance there, Scola can also move upe on the All-Time Scoring list of the Olympics. If Scola manages to score 99 points, he will pass Pau Gasol, and become the third placed player. Though Scola has closed in on Schmidt and passed Gaze on the World Cup All-Time scoring list, Scola won’t be able to pass them at the Olympics. Either way, Scola will do everything in his power to be part of the Argentinian team in Tokyo, and represent his country in his fifth Olympic appearance. In the upcoming season, he will be keeping himself in shape in the Chinese competition with the Shanghai Sharks.