Little League Star Mo'ne Davis: 'You Can Do Whatever You Want'

Photo by Michael Rowe
The 13-year-old athlete carried her team in the Little League World Series, wrote a book and designed her own shoe line, and she's just getting started.

Mo’ne Davis isn’t your average 13-year-old. The eighth grader smashed records after throwing two shut-out games in the Little League World Series last August, becoming the first girl to do so. And she’s still not done.

Since then, Mo’ne has landed a Sports Illustrated cover (making her the first Little Leaguer to grace the publication’s cover) and is working on designing her own sneaker line, M4D3, whose proceeds will go toward helping underprivileged girls in other countries. Most recently, she penned her own book, Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name, on sales now. 

The rising Renaissance woman recently sat down with ESSENCE.com to talk baseball, books and her next move.

You have had a crazy year. Can you recap your journey?
One year ago, this time, baseball season was starting, and my travel coach asked me if I would want to play Little League, but I said no because it would take the whole summer. He was just like, “Just try it. And it’s your last year on the small field.” So I did. We pretty much started playing more Little League games to advance on to different parts of Little League just to get to Williamsport, Penn., so that’s kind of how Little League went. 

And you’ve stayed busy between now and then. You have a book and your sneaker line. So how do you balance it all? That’s so busy for a 13-year-old.
I just let the adults handle that. Whenever they tell me that I have something, I just go with it.

What was it like when you first saw your book and held it in your hands?
I thought it was pretty cool. There were some pictures that were from a while ago that I had forgotten about. That was pretty nice.

I read an anecdote from the book where you talked about how you were not intimidated by playing with the boys. Is that something that has always come natural to you?
I don’t really think about it. I just wanted to play basketball, but my coach said there was also baseball and soccer included, so I just played all of them.

How has your life changed in the last nine months?
Whenever I go somewhere in public, most people don’t really recognize me because I’m not wearing my Mid-Atlantic shirt. But there’s always that one person that recognizes you. When they ask for a picture, all the other people start to ask. That’s the crazy thing. It’s weird when adults start to freak out and kids don’t.

What would you say to girls—or even women—who might be uncomfortable with playing a “boys game”?
There’s not really a sport that’s a “boys game”; it’s just a sport. There are no rules where it says only boys can play it or only girls. So you can’t just go and say that this is a "boys sport." It can be a male-dominated sport, but it’s not just a male sport. You can do whatever you want. If you like it, then just keep going for it, and have fun with it.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Still playing sports?
Yeah. Hopefully, I can make it to the WNBA.

What do you want people to take away from your legacy?
I want people to understand all the things that you have to go to in order to accomplish your dreams. Because it’s not just you practice and then you become the best player and then you automatically make it to Little League. As you take a step, there are always people who try to put you down, and you just got to keep going through it.

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