In 2014, Mo’ne Davis was named Sports Illustrated Kids’, "Sports Kid of the Year". The then 13-year-old was already a Little League star when she was awarded this major honor. Born on June 24, 2001, Mo’ne’s known for the game of baseball. She’s one of the most well-known Little League pitchers, and the first African-American girl to ever play in the Little League World Series.
An Athlete From the Start
Mo’ne grew up with her mother and stepfather in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Even though she’s well-known as a baseball player, her pitching arm was first noticed when she was playing football! While playing football with her brother, and a few other family members, program director of the Marion Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia, Steve Bandura, caught sight of the her amazing ability to throw a ball.
But, don’t think that Mo’ne went straight from tossing around the football to pitching in the Little League World Series. Before becoming a child baseball star, Mo’ne tried basketball out. As a point guard, Mo’ne quickly became the best player on the team. Oh, and she was the only girl on the team too!
Becoming a Baseball Superstar
Along with basketball, Mo’ne also began playing several other sports. She played soccer and (obviously) baseball. As a pitcher, the then 13-year-old could throw a fastball at seventy miles per hour. Wow! Not only did she excel at baseball, but she was also an honor role student at school.
When her team, the Taney Dragons, made it to the Little League World Series, Mo’ne helped lead them to a 4-0 victory. This put her in the public eye, and showed the world that baseball is not just a boy’s sport. She became an instant celebrity, inspiring children, and adults alike.
Even though Mo’ne is known for her pitching skills, baseball isn’t her only focus. She’s putting basketball in the number one sporting spot. As a high school student, the baseball champ is looking forward to a future as a WNBA star! But, don’t think that this amazing athlete is relying on her big baseball win for anything.
Instead of playing for her school’s team, Mo’ne is concentrating her basketball efforts on the AAU Philly Triple Threat team. She realizes that there are lots of girls playing AAU basketball who are better than her – and, that’s why she works so hard. Yes, she might have won fame for her fast-pitch. But, Mo’ne doesn’t have plans to return to the game. That doesn’t mean she’ll never pick up a baseball again. Instead, her plans seem to focus more on basketball than anything else. Before heading to the WNBA, Mo’ne has dreams to attend college. Her top pick is the University of Connecticut, where she wants to play for the UConn Huskies.
As a pioneer in women’s sports (or rather, sports in general), Mo’ne Davis is one to watch. Since her Little League win she’s gone on a press tour, signed more autographs than you can probably imagine, met some serious sports royalty (basketball star Stephen Curry, football star Russell Wilson and tennis legend Billie Jean King) and even met President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Mo’ne might just be doing what she enjoys, but she is also a major inspiration for a lot of people. She’s showing girls that they can do whatever they want and be whoever they are. In a boy-dominated league (Little League), she’s one girl who truly broke down barriers.
Mo’ne Davis might still be a teenager, but she’s already released a memoir (2015’s “Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name”), and launched a shoe collection. Partnering with M4D3 (Make A Difference Everyday), the basketball player helped to create a line of sneakers for kids and women. The proceeds of the sneaker sales are set to go to Plan International USA’s, Because I Am A Girl initiative.
Baseball star, basketball player, celebrity and inspiration. Mo’ne Davis is a young woman who we’ll be seeing much, much more of!
Photo Credit: Disney | ABC Television Group (CC BY-ND 2.0)