Home » Zaila Avant-garde, Spelling Bee winner, is a basketball phenom

Zaila Avant-garde, Spelling Bee winner, is a basketball phenom

Zaila Avant-garde, Spelling Bee winner, is a basketball phenom

Zaila Avant-garde made history at the age of 14, becoming the first African-American Scripps National Spelling Bee winner after correctly spelling “murraya.” After she was crowned winner of the bee, Zaila placed both hands on her face in awe and jumped with joy, a moment that has since gone viral.

But there are plenty more viral moments that belong to the multi-talented teen.

Zaila is already a basketball phenom who holds three Guinness World Records for dribbling multiple basketballs at a time.

The Louisiana teen holds the record for most bounce juggles (255) in one minute with four basketballs; most basketballs dribbled simultaneously with six; and most basketball bounces in 30 seconds with four basketballs.

Zaila, according to the AP, hopes to one day play in the WNBA – or even coach in the NBA.

“Basketball, I’m not just playing it. I’m really trying to go somewhere with it. Basketball is what I do,” Zaila said, per Nola.com. “Spelling is really a side thing I do. It’s like a little hors d’ouevre. But basketball’s like the main dish.”

Zaila Avant-garde competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Zaila Avant-garde won the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Getty Images

She picked up a knack for spelling a few years ago after her father, Jawara Spacetime, watched the event on TV and knew his daughter was cut out for it.

Zaila’s also a highly skilled “mathemagician,” according to her Instagram bio, which means she can do wildly complicated math in her head.

After her spelling bee win, Zaila has garnered attention from celebrities and pro athletes, including Lakers star LeBron James, who tweeted, “CONGRATULATIONS CHAMP!!!!!!”

About the author


Janice Tilson

Janice has been phenomenal in the success of Stock Market Pioneer. She is the super dedicated types, always glued to her computer. She talks less, but when it comes to work, she is behind none. She is a tech geek and contributes to the technology section of Stock Market Pioneer.

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