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Spelling Bee Champ Zaila Avant-garde Is a Basketball Star, Too

In Friday’s Hot Clicks: the spelling bee winner’s other remarkable skill, Giannis’s outstanding Game 2 performance and more.

Remember her name

Zaila Avant-garde is one impressive 14-year-old.

After wrapping up her historic win at the Scripps National Spelling Bee (she’s the first African American to win in the contest’s history), people started to take notice of Zaila’s other remarkable skill: basketball.

Zaila owns three Guinness world records for dribbling multiple basketballs simultaneously. A video posted recently by the International Jugglers’ Association shows her doing all kinds of mind-boggling tricks, like dribbling three basketballs while riding a unicycle and dribbling five balls while balancing on top of another.

Her incredible dribbling has earned her an appearance in a shoe commercial beside Stephen Curry and a chance to perform with the Harlem Globetrotters.

But she doesn’t just do cool stunts, she has legitimate skills as a point guard. Her highlight reel is full of impressive plays. She can finish at the rim with both hands. She has good court vision and throws crisp passes. She even has a slick Eurostep.

Even though she’s the nation’s top speller, Zaila views spelling as a secondary hobby to her first love: basketball. She said after winning the bee that she hopes to play in the WNBA or coach in the NBA one day. She may end up doing that, but first she has to start high school. 

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Around the sports world

A fan at the Scottish Open grabbed one of Rory McIlroy’s clubs out of his bag and took a swing before being apprehended. ... The highly anticipated Tyson Fury–Deontay Wilder fight has been postponed after Fury tested positive for COVID-19

Giannis was a force in Game 2

The Suns’ ball movement is impeccable

He got way up there

A reliever pitching in mop-up duty hit a grand slam off Max Scherzer to spark a comeback from down 8–0

Not sure if this includes the entire U.K. (67.9 million people) or just England (56.2 million) but that’s a ton of people watching the same game

Football players look enormous in golf clothes

He really needs to work on his defense

Vince Carter’s custom putter is amazing

Not sports

A New Zealand woman named her three kids Metallica, Pantera and Slayer. ... A children’s toy sold in Taiwan turned out to be rapping in Polish about cocaine. ... A Massachusetts woman fleeing from police in a stolen car was arrested after pulling into a McDonald’s drive-thru and attempting to order food. ... A group of drunk buffaloes exposed an illegal stash of moonshine and got three farmers arrested.

Get a load of this baby giraffe

A good song

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