2 minute read

Janeth Arcain: 1969—: Professional Basketball Player

Won Olympic Silver Medal

Excelling in international competition, Arcain was a member of Brazil's Pan American Games teams in 1987, winning a silver medal, and in 1991, taking home a gold medal. She played for Brazil's Olympic team in 1992 and experienced her greatest thrill up to that time when she returned in 1996 and Brazil won the Olympic silver medal. "It's the first Olympic medal Brazil ever won [in basketball]," Arcain told the Houston Chronicle. "Mine is hanging in the office at my home."

Arcain played eight seasons of professional basketball in Brazil, six for the Polti team, and two for one called Leite Moca. Essentially, she dominated the league. She has been named the Brazilian Most Valuable Player every year she has been active, and was the league's top scorer in 1995 and 1996. She rented an apartment on Rio de Janeiro's magnificent beachfront. Arcain's Brazilian career continued even after she came to the U.S. and began playing for the Comets—a transition that presented special challenges. Even the ball in Brazilian play is a slightly different size from that in the American game. And when she came to the United States in 1997, she spoke very little English, although she was fluent in Spanish in addition to her native Portuguese.

Most important, Arcain as a WNBA player was just one of a multitude of talented players. Chosen 12th in the WNBA expansion draft, she was obviously a player for whom the Comets had high expectations. "Back in Brazil, they look for me to score," Arcain told the Houston Chronicle. "I average about 26 or 27 points a game." In Arcain's first season with the Comets, playing the position of small forward, she averaged 10.7 points per game—and that was her top performance until the 2001 season.

At a Glance . . .

Born on April 11, 1969, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Career: Played soccer and basketball before taking up basketball in 1983; played professional basketball in Brazil, beginning in late 1980s; played for Brazilian team in Pan American Games, 1987, 1991; played for Brazil in Olympics, 1992, 1996, 2000; played on Brazilian World Championship teams, 1990, 1994; signed by Houston Comets, 1997, member of WNBA Champion Comets teams, 1997-00.

Awards: Silver Medal, Olympics, 1996; Gold Medal, World Championship, 1994; Named WNBA's Most Improved Player, 2001; named to WNBA All-Star First Team, 2001.

Addresses: Office—Houston Comets, Two Greenway Plaza, Ste. 400, Houston, TX 77046-3865.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: (Hugo) Alvar (Henrik) Aalto (1898–1976) Biography to Miguel Angel Asturias (1899–1974) BiographyJaneth Arcain: 1969—: Professional Basketball Player Biography - Won Olympic Silver Medal, Benched As Comets Star Returned, Broadened Her Skills