The DC centenarian who stole hearts around the world when she danced at the White House with the Obamas is marking yet another milestone birthday in style with her favorite basketball team. Virginia McLaurin will officially turn 109 on March 12, but she's already got the party started.
Ms. McLaurin was 106 years old when she finally got the chance to fulfill her dream of visiting the White House—but it wasn’t just any visit. She famously danced with former President Barack Obama and former first Lady Michelle Obama, calling it one of the greatest moments of her life.
On Tuesday, Ms. McLaurin was joined by Harlem Globetrotters Zeus McClurkin and Swish Young—who happened to be the 14th woman in team history—as well as students from D.C.’s Brightwood Elementary School to mark another year of Ms. McLaurin’s life. This was the third year in a row she has celebrated with the team, visiting a different D.C. school each time, and they say she’s become a very good friend along the way.
The students all sang happy birthday to Ms. McLaurin and the Globetrotters performed basketball tricks for the school.
“I don’t know of anything that has made me feel so happy to be with the children and the Globetrotters. This is really a joy to my heart,” McLaurin said on Tuesday. “Everybody I have been around has shown me so much love and I didn’t realize people love me so much. And I love them right back.”
At her 108th birthday celebration in 2017, hosted at LAMB Public Charter School in northwest D.C., Ms. McLaurin was, of course, the center of attention. She told reporters then that she never dreamed she would live to see 108. She was joined by Globetrotters Buckets Blakes and Hoops Green-- the 15th female in team history.
The highlight of the day was learning to spin that ball on her finger. And of course, everyone wanted to know Ms. McLaurin's secret to longevity.
"I don't know myself!" she laughed. "Cornbread, peas... collard greens!"
While she says she didn't expect to see that birthday, she told FOX 5 DC something her mother taught her that still holds true.
"I love people," Ms. McLaurin said. "My mother trained us to love everybody. You don't know who you're going to need, or whose hand you will fall in before you leave this world. So you have to love people. And I do."
She also offered this bit of advice to the kids she met last year.
"Treat people with grace and glory, and you will have a front seat in heaven."
In honor of Ms. McLaurin’s 109th birthday, the Globetrotters will donate 109 tickets for underprivileged youth to see the team play in D.C. and Fairfax on March 17-18! Tickets are also available for purchase at HarlemGlobetrotters.com for the following games:
Saturday, March 17 at 12 p.m. – Capital One Arena in DC
Saturday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. – Eagle Bank Arena
Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m. – Eagle Bank Arena
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