Few things in sports are better than watching a teenager upset her veteran competition, beat her male opponents and achieve the unthinkable. Most recently, the 15-year-old Coco Gauff was dubbed the next Serena Williams when took the world by storm by defeating Venus Williams and reaching the round of 16 at 2019 Wimbledon.
And at 9 years old, Sam Gordon was snatching ankles on the football field before making an appearance in an NFL-produced Super Bowl LIII commercial. Let’s not forget Chloe Kim, who at 17, became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
To other little girls growing up wondering if sports is for them, these ladies are role models and mean the world.
So as the world sits back and appreciates the greatness that is Maddy Freking, the powerful, strike-thrower giving batters fits in the 2019 Little League World Series, it’s important to remember the superstar girl who held her throne five years ago in the boy-dominated little league baseball tournament and even gave Freking some advice this year.
Those that watched the 2014 LLWS know who Mo’ne Davis is. Shoot, Ellen Degeneres, Billie Jean King and Michelle Obama not only knew of the phenom but praised her. Athletes in the sports world like Major League Baseball All-Star Mike Trout, Kevin Durant, Magic Johnson and Russell Wilson gave her shoutouts with tweets as well.
Mo’ne Davis Little League World Series
Mo’ne Davis and her 70-mph fastball stole the show in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, that year, when she became the first girl to ever earn a win and pitch a shutout in the tournament after her Taney Dragons team from Philadelphia defeated Nashville, 4-0. She also became the first African-American girl to play in the LLWS. She wasn’t just a girl playing with the boys baseball team. She was wiping the floor with them.
ESPN racked up its highest rating ever for a LLWS game in her Mid-Atlantic team’s semifinals game because of Davis. She was dubbed “the most talked about baseball player on Earth” by Mark Hyman, an assistant professor of sports management at George Washington University, in a New York Times article.
Of course, the 13-year-old instantly garnered fans and fame in the United States and across the globe.
She graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and was named Sports Illustrated Kids “SportsKid of the Year” in 2014. She donated her jersey to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. President Barack Obama challenged her to a game of H-O-R-S-E. Spike Lee directed a documentary about her, I Throw Like a Girl. She threw out the first pitch in a World Series game that year. She met Drake. At just 13 years old, Davis was named one of Time’s 25 most influential teens of 2014.
With her 15 minutes of fame long gone, many have wondered what the now 18-year-old adult is doing with her life. Did you really think the youth baseball star wouldn’t still be playing a sport?
Mo’ne Davis College Softball
Davis will play softball and study communications at Hampton University, a historically black university in Hampton, Virginia, in the fall of 2019 as a freshman. Though she played softball, soccer and basketball at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, she ultimately chose to play shortstop for the Pirates over college basketball somewhere else following an ankle injury her junior year.
Hampton University is also only six hours from her hometown of Philly, where her mother, Lakeisha McLean, still calls home. Davis explained her need for cultural balance in choosing to attend the HBU in The Undefeated:
“The school I go to now is a predominantly white school. To go to an HBCU, it gives me both sides, experience of being with girls of color [after going to school] with white girls, it gives that balance. I just think it gives me that perfect fit. All of my friends who go to an HBCU love it and they said that I would love it, too.”
As for why Davis isn’t playing baseball and doesn’t have barrier-shattering MLB aspirations, she said she sat on the bench for her one year of varsity ball in high school and felt she was wasting her time and talents. She still pitched for her travel team, the Anderson Monarchs.
Mo’ne Davis Basketball
A point guard in high school, she once dreamed of playing for the University of Connecticut and in the WNBA. She was the only girl playing for her 18U Monarchs team at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center in South Philadelphia, and she told PennLive.com she was one of the shortest players while playing high school varsity basketball.
“I was usually the smallest kid on the court. [Davis is 5-foot-4, the same height she was in 2014.] We had a great group of girls. My last two years playing basketball may have been the most fun even though we did not win many games.”
Steve Bandura, one of her coaches for the Monarchs, described to SlamOnline.com why she was so dynamic on the court.
“Even as the boys got bigger and more athletic, we were still a better team with Mo’ne at the point guard, with her controlling and running the show. People don’t know when they watch what they’re seeing, she has a plan when she comes over halfcourt and sees the defense… She doesn’t look at everything but she sees everything.”
Davis began to realize her size might hold her back from playing for a powerhouse like UConn, but she still had interest from smaller Division-I schools like Fordham, Longwood and Quinnipiac.
She had other plans, though: returning to the diamond, where she first showed the world her athletic prowess as a Little League World Series star.
Mo’ne Davis Now
Now at 18, though, she’s carving out a different path — one that could lead to the National Pro Fastpitch league, a coaching position or a job in communications. Who knows? There’s no telling what Mo’ne Davis will accomplish next.