Zaila Avant-garde is at it again, being the coolest teenager in America.


Zaila Avant-garde Impressed With Her Spelling and Basketball Skills

by Devan McGuinness

Some people seem destined for greatness. And there is no question that Zaila Avant-garde is one of those people. She most recently made headlines for winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee, marking the first African-American winner, and a spelling phenom who came at it late in the game, making her a total prodigy. Bu now she’s back in the spotlight because not only is she an incredible speller, but apparently, she’s also a basketball superstar too.

Zaila demonstrated just how well-rounded her impressive skills are during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Guest host Phoebe Robinson asked Zaila questions, while took her spelling prowess to the next level by dribbling several basketballs at the same time while flawlessly spelling words we’ve never even heard of.

Turns out Zaila, at only 14 years old, isn’t just the winner of the Scripps Spelling Bee; she also holds three Guinness World Records for her ability to dribble multiple basketballs at the same time. And she proved her talent several times over.

She could also spell the word “Machiavellian” while dribbling three basketballs behind her back and through her legs. Again, not missing a single letter or dribble. Then leveled up again, dribbling six basketballs while nailing the spelling of “Amaryllis” and correcting Phoebe’s pronunciation.

But then it was time for a surprise for Zaila—a bigger challenge from none other than Bill Murray. Zaila referenced the actor during the Scripps Spelling Bee to help her sell the final word “Murraya,” so it was fitting that he gives her the last task on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Bill challenged her to spell the word “portmanteau” while balancing on a yoga roller and dribbling three basketballs simultaneously. Impossible, right?

Well, not for the Big Z, which Bill calls her. She nailed it, impressed everyone all over again. And won herself another scholarship, this time to hoops clinic Sports Academy, to add to the others she received after her spelling competition win.

We can’t wait to see what Zaila is able to impress us with next!