Historic Spelling Bee winner Zaila Avant-garde is also a hoops phenom

Spelling Bee champion Zaila Avant-garde says basketball is "what I do."

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 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.

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A post shared by 🔮 Zaila Avant-garde (@basketballasart)

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

This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Jenna Lemoncelli

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