Zaila Avant-garde named Sports Illustrated 2021 SportsKid of the Year


HARVEY, La. (WGNO) — Her name has been at the forefront of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, Black history, and even the Guinness Book of World Records. Now, 14-year-old Zaila Avant-garde is making more headlines as the Sports Illustrated 2021 SportsKid of the Year.

The announcement came Wednesday, with Sports Illustrated calling Avant-garde a “dazzling dribbler, a spectacular speller, and a scintillating scholar.”

In July, Avant-garde was crowned winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Her winning word? Murraya, which is a group of tropical plants in the citrus family.

The Harvey native made history as the competition’s first African-American winner, and her win even scored her multiple full-ride scholarships, including to LSU and Southern University in Baton Rouge.

While she says she enjoys spelling, Avant-garde has made it clear that basketball is her true love, saying that her dream is to one day play in the WNBA. On top of excelling academically, the teenager has claimed multiple Guinness World Records for dribbling and juggling.

Needless to say, SportsKid of the Year is a title fitting for a kid who can do it all. The only question is: what will she do next?

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