RIO DE JANEIRO (Olympics) - There are many different paths that lead to a basketball career.
For Brazil's 24-year-old Franciele Nascimento, her journey began when she was just nine.
A player in Spain's Liga Femenina with Hondarribia Irun, Nascimento recently talked about the road she took to the professional game.
She played at the Beijing Games and is on the cusp of playing in London, too.
"I started to play basketball at the age of nine," Franciele said.
"I wasn't interested in sport but one day a teacher came to our class and asked my friends and I if we wanted to play in the basketball team.
"My friends said yes and I didn't want to be left behind, so I went along.
"What's funny is that of all those girls that started with me, I was the only one that continued to practice basketball.
"It was a difficult time for me because my father passed away so basketball came as a present.
"That is why today I dedicate every win to my father."
Franciele, who was speaking to the Brazilian Basketball Conference website, says that five years after discovering the sport, she took a difficult decision.
"My mother thought of basketball as a way to entertain myself but certainly not as something that I would dedicate my future to," she said.
"When the offer came long to play in Jundiai, she didn't want to let me go. As you can imagine, an only child, to leave home at 14.
"But after a lot of talks, she let me go. Today she gives me a lot of support and is a big fan."
Franciele spent five years training in Jundiai with coach Luis Claudio Tarallo, the coach of the national team.
"He was my coach when I was 16 until I was 21," she said.
"For me up to now, he has been my best coach. He knows me very well and was always able to bring the best in me. Moreover, I identify a lot with his system of play.
"I always considered him a great coach and I see that today he continues to use the same techniques he used during my time in Jundiai. He knows me and knows what I can give."
It's far too early to tell if this Brazil team is going to be a force at the London Games.
In 2008, the Brazilians claimed one of the five spots on offer for Beijing at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Madrid.
In China, however, they came in 11th out of 12 teams.
Last summer, they won the FIBA Americas Championship for Women to qualify directly.
"This is a strong national team and everyone is giving their best," Franciele said.
"We have a lot of confidence. I haven't seen such a united team and each one of us is giving something for a common goal."
Although Franciele played in Beijing, she is taking nothing for granted when it comes to making the trip to the Summer Games.
"My aim is to be able to give and earn a place in the final roster for London," she said.
"My season wasn't very positive.
"Even though we were able to defend our status, we finished 12th."
There was a good side to have bad results.
"Our season finished early so I was able to rest and go home," Franciele said, "but I never lost focus."
"The training (with national team) is very strong but we are already accustomed to this intense rhythm. At this stage of our preparation, we are focusing on the physical aspect and starting to focus on the technical and tactical work."
Brazil will visit Australia and face the Opals on 24, 26 and 28 June.
Then in Foz do Iguacu, they will square off against Cuba on 6 and 8 July.
Brazil will travel to the United States to face Team USA on 16 July.
Before the Olympics, they will be in France to play against China, Australia and France in warm-up games on 20 and 22 July.