At age six, most kids are either playing with their toys, a video game or watching their cartoons but not Sosa Taeko Cruz. She enjoys doing the above but loves to play basketball the most. Her love for the sport developed at the tender age of four and she has been in the gym since then.
Sosa was born in 2014 and is the fourth of five children. Her first basketball game was at nine months old when her father, Roberto Cruz, took her to watch a high school game. Her father who played basketball practically his whole life is her inspiration for the game.
“Before the birth of Pumps, I was convinced that she is an outstanding basketball player. Planned to give her a place in this sport even before birth. Sent the wishes to the higher powers of the universe and Sosa was born exactly as I dreamt.
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“The most beautiful feeling in the world, introducing the children to sports. I Played basketball all my life, but looking at Sosa, I see a completely different level. She really works hard for a 6-year-old girl. Never seen anyone so hardworking as she is,” Cruz said.
At age five, Sosa intensified her training, and around that time, her father contacted the Decatur Blazers basketball program’s head coach. It only took a few videos of the basketball prodigy on Instagram to convince the coach to accept her on an all-boys team. This made Sosa the first girl to join Decatur in the program’s history.
Now, she is the captain of the Decatur Blazers U6 boys team and that position came off the back of her first training session. Fast forward to last fall, Sosa took part in the Rockets i9 league and took home the trophy for her team. Earning the MVP honors for her team was the icing on the cake for her.
“I do really good at defense and taking the ball,” said Sosa.
At her age, Sosa’s motto is “hard work is undefeated” because she believes one wins when they give their all. However, losing is a part of the game and whenever a game does not end in a win, she goes back to the drawing board and works extra hard in the gym.
Her teammates and everyone speak very highly of her bubbly character and love her.
“They love Sosa,” said her dad, Roberto. “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.”
The legacies of Gigi and Kobe Bryant are her motivation and she aspires to be as good as they were which drives her to work harder. She wears the number 2 jersey like Gigi.
Her dream one day is to play in the NBA or the WNBA and be a chef at the same time cooking for her teammates. Videos of her which went viral during the lockdown period was picked by big sports platforms like Overtime, Sports Illustrated and ESPN. Roberto told Fox5Atlanta that he had posted several videos of her earlier but they did not garner much attention like they are doing now.
She is on a mission “to be the best”, he said. Roberto is extremely proud of her and was ecstatic when professional basketball players like Carmelo Anthony commented on one of her videos. Overtime shared one of her dribbling videos on social media which now has over 300,000 views
“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.”
Sosa’s family is vested in dreams as well and they practically show up to every game of hers in their numbers.
They say dreams do come true because Sosa wished to have an endorsement deal with Nike, and although she does not have that yet, her recent ad with the sports apparel company is a step in the direction.