Zaila Avant-garde‘s Scripps National Spelling Bee win gave us an awesome story on Thursday night, with a great sports angle. On top of being one of the world’s best spellers, she is an incredible basketball player, and a Guinness World Record holder. Even LeBron James took notice of her win last night.
Avant-garde, a 14-year old from Harvey, La. became the first African-American to win the prestigious contest. She did so correctly spelling the word “Murraya,” a genus of flowering citrus plants that grow in Asia, Australia, and elsewhere in the Pacific.
As the world soon came to know, this is far from her only talent. She has world records for dribbling multiple basketballs at the same time, though her skills go far beyond tricks. Highlights of her middle school play have circulated, and she can really hoop. She said that she hopes to play and/or coach in the WNBA one day, though she’s also thought of becoming an astronaut or working for NASA.
She has a fan in LeBron James, one of the great basketball players in the history of the sport. He took to Twitter to congratulate her on her historic win.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 9, 2021
If LeBron checked out Zaila Avant-garde’s basketball highlights, he’d appreciate her incredible flair for finishing at the rim, and an array of awesome outlet passes. We may very well see her playing high-level college hoops in a few years.
Zaila Avant-garde the FIRST African-American to win the Scripps National #SpellingBee. 👸🏾🏆
She’s also really good at basketball and holds a Guinness World Record‼️
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) July 9, 2021
This morning, she told CNN that she has her sights on playing at Harvard.
National Spelling Bee champion Zaila Avant-garde says she is interested in playing basketball at Harvard University, after which she is thinking of four career options:
– NBA basketball coach
– Working for NASA
– Gene editing pic.twitter.com/q6cUWoglVR
— New Day (@NewDay) July 9, 2021
Whatever Zaila winds up doing now that her spelling career is over, it is impossible to bet against her.