Please tell us a little bit about yourself.


My name is Muzi and I am a third-year student studying Biomedical Science at York University. A few things that I absolutely love are food, Netflix, and watching animal videos on TikTok. I have participated in many sports teams at school, including basketball, volleyball, badminton, soccer, and flag football. However, my passion lies in basketball. The first memory I have of the idea of basketball was when I was around 4, when my dad would turn off my cartoons and ask me to watch NBA with him. Perhaps it was the influence of his love for Yao Ming, but I quickly fell in love with the game too. I am proud to say I played rep for 9 years, which provided me with amazing memories and also taught me important life lessons. Because of basketball, I have learned the values of commitment, teamwork, patience, and the ability to manage my time. In addition to playing basketball, I am also a house league coach. I love getting the opportunity to teach young kids the important lessons my amazing coaches have taught me over the years.


Because of my accomplishments from playing basketball, achievements in community service, and excellence in academics, I became a recipient of one of the biggest scholarships at York University.  Currently, I am doing research sponsored by NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council), with a focus in synthesizing organic polymers for applications in sustainable energy!


What inspired you to participate in sport?


I had always been an active kid growing up. I remember absolutely loving recess in elementary school, where I would get to play sports with my friends. When I brought up the idea of playing sports outside of school to my parents, they were incredibly supportive. Although it was my initial interest for “fun” that first got me to participate in sports, it was definitely my parents’ unwavering support that inspired me to stay in sports for so long. My parents were always there to cheer me on during games, they practiced with me at home, and drove me to every practice (and I was never late!). Even in difficult times, such as when I did not have a good game, or when I was stressed with schoolwork, my parents always found ways to motivate me – ways of inspiring me to stay in sports.


What do you do to give back to your sport community? Why is it important?


I have been working as a house league basketball coach for the past six years. I absolutely love being able to inspire kids to love basketball, just as the ways my coaches have inspired me in the past. House league is a great place for kids to not only develop their basketball skills, but also have fun in learning about the life lessons that come with sports. I also give back to the community outside of sports. When the pandemic first started, I worked with my mom to make personal protective equipment (PPE) such as surgical caps and scrub bags for front line workers. In a span of 2 months, we donated 70 surgical caps and 10 scrub bags. I think giving back is important as it not only makes an impact on other people but is also creates a sense of purpose/fulfillment for the person giving back. I have learned many lessons from giving back and recognized the importance of reflecting on and appreciating what I have been given.


What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?


I believe that putting their child in sports is one of the best things a parent can do. As a house league coach, I have worked at both girls-only and co-ed programs. Unfortunately, despite the presence of exceptional players at girls-only sessions, it is incredibly rare to see girls at co-ed sessions. Although I think girls-only programs are amazing in generating teamwork and self-esteem, I also believe parents and coaches can encourage their players to also play with/against boys. Playing with boys helps to eliminate the negative gender stereotypes that are associated with sports. I think if parents

communicate with one another and coordinate a group of 10+ girls to join the co-ed programs, the girls would feel much more comfortable to join. Especially at a young age, many female basketball players possess much greater skills compared to males!

Moreover, I think it is absolutely crucial that parents, coaches, and sport administrators introduce female sport role models for young girls. Growing up, I looked up to NBA superstars; although they were great basketball players, they were not people I could relate to. I wish I was introduced to WNBA stars, female NCAA players, or even female athletes in my community! This is why I think what Lead Thru Sport is doing is amazing: it is incredibly important for female athletes to feel empowered in this male-dominated community!


What is a quote that motivates you?


“Be proud of yourself for how hard you’re trying.” – Unknown


Instagram: @muzixli