After being the last kid standing at the prestigious 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition, Zaila Avant-garde recently notched another win.
Sports Illustrated named the 14-year-old New Orleans girl the 2021 SportsKid of the Year, recognizing her intellectual and athletic skills.
Zaila is also an elite point guard who holds three Guinness World Records for dribbling multiple basketballs at the same time. In July, Zalila became the first Black winner representing the United States to win the spelling bee in 93 editions of the competition.
What makes Zaila’s achievement all the more spectacular is that it took her just two years to reach the pinnacle, whereas it takes many competitors up to six years to reach the elite level in spelling bees.
After placing atop the competition, Zaila was honored with a full scholarship to Louisiana State University.
Zaila’s focus has been playing hoops. “Spelling is just a thing I do. My primary focus is basketball,” she said.