DECATUR - When coronavirus shut down just about every sports league, athletes were left working on their own. One young athlete from our area has been doing just that, and gaining thousands of new fans at the same time.
"Carmelo Anthony, he commented with a fire emoji," said Roberto Cruz. "I was like, this is crazy, this is Carmelo Anthony! WNBA players message me asking about her."
Roberto is talking about his daughter, 6-year-old Sosa Cruz, star of some viral videos showcasing her basketball talents. One video, shared by the the company Overtime's social media accounts, shows Sosa emphatically counting while dribbling two balls at once. That video has over 300,000 views.
The little lady has big talent, and an even bigger goal.
"To be the best," said Sosa.
Sosa says her dream is to play in the NBA. Her other main goal is to become a chef.
Roberto Cruz says he's encouraged Sosa to play basketball since she was very young, giving Sosa her first ball at one year old. He has posted videos of her for several years, but attention picked up significantly after large outlets like Overtime, Sports Illustrated and ESPN posted her videos.
"She doesn't even know if it's a negative comment or positive comment," said Roberto Cruz. "I show her certain things. She's just doing her thing, looking beautiful and working hard."
It's not just dazzling dribbling and viral videos for Sosa -- she also takes her talent to the team game. Sosa plays in the Decatur Blazers AAU Blazers AAU program on the 6-and-under team, where she is the only girl.
"I do really good at defense and taking the ball," said Sosa.
Roberto Cruz says he sought out a boys AAU team to give his daughter the highest possible competition level.
"They love Sosa," said Roberto Cruz. "They treat her like the queen goddess of the team. Even the older teams, they look at her as the little sister. They take care of her."
Roberto says he's aware that Sosa does a lot of work and practice for a 6-year-old, but says she loves it. Roberto says he and his wife Sarah often have to slow Sosa down when she wants to keep playing, or doing exercises like push-ups at home.