1st grader draws 46 million Facebook video views with dribbling skills
BELLE CHASSE - A six-year-old girl from Belle Chasse has captured the nation’s attention as videos of her amazing basketball skills go viral on social media.
Jaliyah Manuel’s dribbling skills have garnered millions of views and even captured the attention of the UConn basketball program and a handful of WNBA stars.
One of her videos has been viewed more than 47 million times on Facebook. She says she begs her dad to let her practice every single day.
"It makes me better, and when I grow up I feel like I'm going to be like my favorite players," said Manuel, who added that her favs include LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Steph Curry.
The girl says she only new of “His Airness” thanks to the classic film “Space Jam.”
Jaliyah is also a success in the classroom as she makes straight-A’s.
"If I don't make good grades, I don't practice," she said. "If I do make good grades, then I do practice.”
WWL-TV says Jaliyah dreams up the drills her father films herself.
"Sometimes, I just think in my brain, and then this is what I say to my dad, 'Dad, why don't we do this?' and I show him what I do and he adds the things to it.”
"I'm having professional trainers tell me they're using her drills," said her dad, Jovan Manuel.
She’s so into the game that a basketball is her most prized possession. Her dad says she sleeps with it every night. If it’s not in the room when she goes to bed, her dad says she’ll sleepwalk into the living room, grab the ball and go back to bed.
"When I sleep, when I watch movies and when I brush my teeth, I eat dinner with it. I feed it," she said, giving her prized ball, "some smoothies and some other things like healthy food.”
The girl is now something of a celebrity at Belle Chase Elementary where she, unsurprisingly, just took home first place in the talent show. Her father says she’s already getting calls from the top prep school in the nation and has recruiters from women’s college hoops powerhouse UConn already sniffing around. She’s even already picking up sponsorship deals.
She’s appeared on SportsCenter, the Steve Harvey Show, has met LeBron James and is to host a clinic with Diana Tauresi and Britney Griner this summer. Jaliyah says she had to learn cursive just so she could start providing autographs to her new fans.
The Plaquemines Parish Council proclaimed Apr. 14 Jaliyah Manuel day. But at the end of the day, all the 6-year-old wants to do is practice - none of the fame has gone to her head.
"Because if you brag you're saying,'I'm the best in the world, nobody is better than me.' I don't like that," she said.