At age four, Samaya Clark-Gabriel mastered several sports including basketball, tennis, soccer, boxing and CrossFit. In 2018, she broke a record by becoming the first child to play alongside the Harlem Globetrotters.
Little Clark-Gabriel of Brooklyn can dribble a basketball – or two – like nobody’s business. She was born in Brooklyn, NY in 2009, where she evolved into a versatile athlete and entertainer, dominating soccer and basketball with ease.
She said she learned to dribble by “practicing and watching YouTube.” Clark-Gabriel’s dad, Wayne Gabriel confirmed that his daughter’s talents came purely from watching videos, and was just as shocked as the rest of world at her quick ability to pick up the sport.
“We were watching the New York Knicks game,” he recalled. “She looked over at me and said she wanted to play basketball. So the next day we went to the mall [and] picked up a ball. That same day we went outside and she just started dribbling. I looked at her [and] said, ‘Where did you learn this from?’ She said, ‘YouTube.’”
According to her biography, she started playing intramural soccer at the age of four for the Brooklyn Patriots. Her exceptional talent promoted her to the co-ed U8 travel team division.
The following year, Clark-Gabriel was commended for her effort. She received the Athlete of the Year. In 2016, she led the Brooklyn Stars Soccer Academy to their first league championship victory.
She received several tournament titles and was presented with the Lion’s Heart Award for demonstrating extraordinary drive and skill against many respectable all-boys teams. The soccer princess expressed interest in basketball in December 2015.
She made history as the youngest student ever admitted to the school’s basketball team program, competing against students in 3rd grade and beyond. Clark-Gabriel’s exceptional skill and style of dribbling caught the attention and hearts of millions of Americans with over two million views of her video from a training session in just the first week of submission.
She has been featured on numerous platforms and live shows. Clark-Gabriel is the first child basketball star to perform three times with Harlem Globetrotters in three different arenas within the same year (2017).
While performing with them at Madison Square Garden in 2017, Clark-Gabriel invited the team to her school, P.S. 309 in Brooklyn. Her school was chosen to be the first in New York City to host the Globetrotter’s T.E.A.M. Up at School program created with the National Campaign to Stop Violence.
T.E.A.M. stands for talk, empathy, ask and mobilize. Accompanied by Harlem Globetrotters Stars Bull Bullard and Hoops Green, Clark-Gabriel helped teach a lesson about bullying prevention.
She has been a fundraiser at age seven for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, supporting research towards cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Her support for organizations earned her a certificate of recognition from the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo and a citation from Brooklyn borough president, Eric Adams for the efforts she puts into making her community a better place and her contributions to children at St Jude Children’s Hospital.
Despite her athletic energy, Clark-Gabriel is a fun-loving girl, who does not joke with school. She was awarded Student of the Month and earned Outstanding Performance certificates in Math and English consistently from PreK-2nd Grade.
Whilst in First Grade, Clark-Gabriel was recognized for conveying high levels of Academic Achievement. She already envisages playing Basketball in college and desires to become an Olympic Gold medalist in Gymnastics.
Watch some of her soccer snippets: