Spelling bee champ Zaila Avant-garde is hoops whiz — and Guinness World Record holder

Avant-garde is one of the best 8th grade girls basketball players in the country, according to ESPN. In a profile with the outlet, she said her next big goal is to make the 2022 USA Basketball under-16 national team.

SHARE Spelling bee champ Zaila Avant-garde is hoops whiz — and Guinness World Record holder
Zaila Avant-garde, 14, from Harvey, Louisiana celebrates with the championship trophy after winning the finals of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Disney World Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Zaila Avant-garde, 14, from Harvey, Louisiana, celebrates with the championship trophy after winning the finals of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Disney World on Thursday.

AP

Zaila Avant-garde won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday and made history by becoming the first African American contestant to win in 93 editions of the competition. 

The 14-year-old just so happens to be dual-threat as both a student and athlete. A basketball prodigy, Zaila holds three Guinness World Records for her ability to dribble multiple basketballs at a time. And she hopes to one day play in the WNBA.

Shortly after winning on Thursday, Avant-garde took to social media — where she has more than 20,000 followers on Instagram — and has posted videos of her playing basketball. The New Orleans Pelicans and several other sports followers were quick to give her props. 

Untitled

Zaila Avant-garde’s three Guinness World Records include:

  • Most balls juggled in one minute with four basketball
  • Most dribbles in 30 seconds with four basketballs
  • Most basketballs dribbled by one person simultaneously (6)

Avant-garde is one of the best 8th grade girls basketball players in the country, according to ESPN. In a profile with the outlet, she said her next big goal is to make the 2022 USA Basketball under-16 national team. She listed James Harden, Diana Taurasi, Kevin Durant and Maya Moore as some of her favorite players.

Her impressive hoop skills had new followers in awe. Scholarship time, Geno Auriemma? 

One video shows the Harvey, Louisiana, native going through some drills with an strong handle and jump shot. 

Another video is of her handsy defense on display. 

In addition to the spelling bee crown, Zaila holds the Guinness World Records title holder for most bounce juggles in one minute. Her three World Records include:

  • Most balls juggled in one minute with four basketball
  • Most dribbles in 30 seconds with four basketballs
  • Most basketballs dribbled by one person simultaneously (6)

That hand-eye coordination and smarts combo ... again, scholarship, Kim Mulkey? 

Zaila outlasted a field of 11 finalists to win the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee title and the first-place prize of $50,000 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. 

Read more at usatoday.com

The Latest
Mike Irvin hasn’t been bashful about who he is as a coach and where he believes his team and program are headed.
Police were called to a store in the 100 block of Roosevelt Road around 4:05 p.m. Thursday and confronted two suspects nearby, in the area of Ann and Lincoln streets, officials said in a statement.
After being in the U.S. more than 30 years, Julita Bartolome was deported in 2019 to the Philippines during a wave of immigration crackdowns by the Trump administration.
Co-director Guillermo del Toro (‘The Shape of Water’) says the stop-motion film is ‘about things that hurt as a child and as a parent.’
Painted in May, the work by artist Richard Wilson includes lyrics written by a Hathaway friend for him as a show of support as he struggled with mental illness.