Maria Paula Silva
|Competitor for Brazil|
|Silver||Atlanta 1996||National team|
|Pan American Games|
|Gold||Havana 1991||National team|
|Silver||Indianapolis 1987||National team|
|Bronze||Caracas 1983||National team|
|Gold||Australia 1994||National team|
Maria Paula Gonçalves da Silva (born March 11, 1962 in Osvaldo Cruz, São Paulo), is a retired Brazilian women's basketball player. She is considered one of the greatest players in her country, along with Hortência Marcari and Janeth Arcain. For Brazil women's national basketball team, Paula is the second biggest scorer with 723 points (behind Hortência) and holds the record for caps with 45 games, being in two Olympic Games and six World Championships.
Paula begun playing basketball at the age of ten, and in 1974, was invited to join Assis Tênis Clube. One year and a half later, the team folded and Paula went to Jundiaí to play for Colégio Divino Salvador, and a few months later, was drafted for the first time by the national team despite being only fourteen. In 1988, Paula went to play in Spain, but an injured knee and difficulties of adaptation brought her back to Brazil in 1991.
In 1979, she helped her team to a fourth place at the Pan American Games, held in Puerto Rico. In 1983, Paula and the national team improved their previous Pan American performance by winning a bronze medal at the Venezuela games, and, in 1987, went yet one more step further by winning a silver medal at the 1987 Indianapolis Pan Americans. In 1991, Paula and the Brazilian women's national basketball team won the gold medal at that year's Pan American tournament, held in Cuba, being the player which most impressed Cuban president Fidel Castro.
In 1994, Paula won the women's world basketball championship in Australia, making Brazil only country other than the Soviet Union or the United States to win the title (Australia became the fourth in 2006). She was considered most valuable player in that tournament. In 1996, she won a silver medal at the Atlanta Olympics, and retired from the national team after winning the 1997 FIBA Americas Championship for Women. She still played for clubs before retiring in 2000.
After retirement, Paula became an entrepreneur, director of the Centro Olímpico do Ibirapuera, and worked for a while in the Brazilian Ministry of Sports.
- "WBHOF Inductees". WBHOF. Retrieved 2009-08-01.