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Spelling Bee champ Zaila Avant-garde shows hoop skills on ‘Live with Kelly and Ryan’

Zaila Avant-garde is becoming a household name for more than just her spelling.

The 14-year-old became the first Black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday when she correctly spelled Murraya, a genus of flowering citrus trees. As confetti dropped onto the stage, she exclaimed with joy as she secured more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

Her big win is not all the Harvey, Lousiana native is known for. She is also a basketball phenom with three Guinness World Records for dribbling multiple basketballs simultaneously.

“Basketball, I’m not just playing it. I’m really trying to go somewhere with it. Basketball is what I do,” Avant-garde said earlier this month, 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.”

And on Tuesday, Avant-garde — who has the record for juggling four basketballs 255 times in one minute — joined Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” to share her skills. She dribbled three basketballs for nearly a minute for the audience.

This is not the first time the teen has experienced fame. Three years ago, she appeared in a commercial with NBA star Steph Curry. And she has made headlines for being able to divide five-digit numbers by two-digit numbers in her head. One day, the young star — who has already been offered three full-ride college scholarships — wants to play in the WNBA or coach.

Zaila Avant-garde, the first African-American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee correctly spelled 'Murraya' as her final word.
Zaila Avant-garde, the first African-American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee correctly spelled ‘Murraya’ as her final word.
REUTERS/Joe Skipper

But as one Twitter user proclaimed, “[she] will probably be our president someday.”

Avant-garde will make her next television appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!” Wednesday night.


nypost.com

New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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