OMYBA Spotlight - M’lani Vitela
For this month’s OMYBA Spotlight we speak with M’lani Vitela. M’Lani is 14 years old and is currently in the ninth grade. In addition to being a member of our Jr. Magic program, M’lani has participated in a few of our Her Time to Play all-girls basketball clinics.
M’lani, how long have you been playing the game of basketball?
I have been playing basketball for approximately 8 years.
Are you currently involved with a local Jr. Magic team or have you participated in the past?
Yes, I am a participant in the Orange County Parks and Recreation’s South Econ Jr. Magic program.
What is your favorite part about the game of basketball?
Basketball teaches you how to work with people, you meet great people and make many friends.
Are you involved in any other youth sports?
No, I love basketball.
Are there any NBA or WNBA players that you specifically follow and/or admire? If so, why?
I follow Ja Morant because he is not scared to take risks in the game, he will drive into 4 defenders & he has a great release on his shot. He is very inspirational because of how he plays the game and even if he messes up, he still keeps on trying to get it right.
Outside of basketball, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
I like to hang out with my family and friends, play with my dog and draw.
Have you attended a Magic game in the past? If so, what do you like about attending the games?
Yes, I have. I like that they have different cams, like bandwagon cam & I also like how they address the magic fans and have interactive things for the crowd to do.
You have attended a few of our ‘Her Time to Play’ all-girls clinics. What are some of the aspects that you’ve enjoyed about these events?
You can see the joy in the girls faces when they participate in these events, it brings a lot of girls together and it's a great way to make new friends who like what you like and you also get to meet people who have can give you good advice about playing.
In your opinion, why is it important for girls to participate in team sports like basketball?
Personally I think it’s important because a lot of people say that sports, like basketball and football, are “boy sports” but they don’t really know what us girls are capable of doing, so when it’s a gym full of girls enjoying and learning the game it’s more fun. It's also important for girls to not let anyone tell them they can't do something.
I know this is a few years away, but what would you like to do after graduating high school?
I hope to get a scholarship to play basketball in college and I want to study Journalism.
March is Women’s History Month. Are there any current or past prominent females that have inspired you?
Rosa Parks, she was fearless!