She just became the first African-American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. But the girl can ball, too.
Go ahead and Google “Zaila Avant-garde” and laissez les bon temps rouler.
Once the confetti has cleared you’ll find a heartwarming story of a young girl from a small southern town who became an overnight internet sensation for correctly spelling the word “murraya.”
Avant-garde, who bested 209 other contestants to claim the national spelling title, twirls away with a $50,000 cash prize, but also some newfound fame.
Not only is she the first contestant from Louisiana to win the competition, but she’s also the first Black American to take the top spot in its 93-year history.
(She even double-checked her winning word with a quick nod to Bill Murray.)
The young scholar only began spelling competitively two years ago, but it turns out that she’s been chasing titles for a while now.
Zaila Avant-garde: Basketball Record-holder
Not long after her name started to spread online, it became clear that Avant-garde was more than just a star speller.
She’s a baller.
Avant-garde is one of the best eighth-grade girls basketball players in the country according to ESPN — and she owns not one, but THREE Guinness world records for dribbling multiple basketballs simultaneously.
Her records, as noted by USA Today, include:
- Most balls juggled in one minute with four basketballs
- Most dribbles in 30 seconds with four basketballs
- Most basketballs dribbled by one person simultaneously (six)
And just in case you don’t believe it, her talents are available for all eyes to see online:
Sheesh. She got game.
Avant-garde’s talents on the hardwood have already gained the attention of professional basketball players like Sue Bird, as well as NBA Twitter and WNBA Twitter. However, this is not her first brush with fame.
And with a goal of making the 2022 USA Basketball’s U16 national team, as well as one day playing in the WNBA, Avant-garde is a champion that’s undoubtedly headed for even greater things.
Talk about a natural born w-i-n-n-e-r.