National Spelling Bee champion Zaila Avant-garde combines her incredible spelling and basketball skills
Ever wonder what you’ve been doing with your life? Well, if you haven’t, you’re definitely about to.
14-year-old Zaila Avant-garde, the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with guest host Phoebe Robinson to show off her epic skills. But spelling isn’t her only forte, it seems.
Zaila can also dribble multiple basketballs at a time and is a Guinness World Record holder, to boot. But can she spell polysyllabic words while dribbling basketballs at the same time? You bet she can.
First, she deftly manages to keep three balls bouncing while spelling “machiavellian” — no mean feat without the addition of ball sports. Then, just to make things even more challenging, Zaila was asked to dribble six balls at once while spelling “amaryllis.” Just to top everything off and make you feel like an underachiever, Bill Murray stopped by (she’d referenced the actor just before spelling her winning word “murraya” at the Spelling Bee) and challenged Zaila to balance on a foam roller while dribbling three balls and spelling the word “portmanteau.”
She nailed it!