Little League Badass Mo’ne Davis Lands SI CoverBy Amber Lee
Unless the word ‘swimsuit’ is in the title of the issue, it’s a rare occasion when a woman is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In fact, of the 716 issues published between 2001 and 2011, less than five percent of the cover athletes were women.
That makes Little League World Series star Mo’ne Davis’ cover and subsequent feature within the recent issue all the more noteworthy. The 13-year-old pitcher, who plays for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons, has become a national sensation in recent weeks.
Davis first attracted attention with her play on the field. The 70 mph fastball she used to shutout the opposition in the Mid-Atlantic Final made national headlines and sent her team to the World Series. Then she became the first girl to throw a shutout LLWS history.
In Philadelphia’s 4-0 win over Pearland, Texas, Davis gave up just two hits and struck out eight. She also became the sixth girl ever to collect a hit in the final. She’s been making history at every available turn.
While other teams in the tournament were coed, Davis is the only girl on her team and clearly the standout star. She’s also just the 17th girl to make it to the finals in the entire 68-year history of the event.
Perhaps the most stunning part of Davis’ story is that she’s not even all that interested in baseball—at least over the long haul.
“To be honest, I never thought I’d be famous for baseball,” Davis told SI. “I want to play basketball, and I could also do both basketball and baseball—but I really want to play basketball.”
Davis says her dream is to play for the University of Connecticut, the reigning national champions in both men and women’s basketball. Ultimately the eighth grade honor student says she wants to play in the WNBA.
In addition her seemingly limitless athletic potential, Davis has a confident and laid-back ease in dealing with the media and her newfound celebrity. Like when she challenged Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw to a “pitch-off” recently and he accepted.
The girl’s got swag.
Despite the sudden avalanche of attention, Davis still has five more years to be a kid and figure out her future. But it’s already clear that when that time comes, she’s going to attract the collective gaze of the sports world, which is already transfixed.