Meet Zaila Avant-garde: Spelling bee champ and serious hooper


Spelling isn’t the only thing Zaila Avant-garde is good at.

The Scripps spelling bee champion is also a basketball star.

Avant-garde won the spelling bee on Thursday, correctly spelling ‘murraya’ for the win. In the process, she became the first African American winner of the bee and only the second Black champion in its history. Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica won the bee in 1998, making her the first Black champion as well as the only international winner. 

Avant-garde, who hails from Harvey, Louisiana, currently owns three Guinness world records for dribbling multiple basketballs simultaneously, highlighting just how much of a prodigy she is. 

She hopes to one day play in the WNBA or coach in the NBA – or both. 

Is Avant-garde the world’s most interesting 14 year old? A spelling bee champion and basketball prodigy, we have a feeling she’s only just getting started.