Steward: Five-year-old holds court with basketball prowess

Carl Steward

IF YOU DOUBT either the power of the Internet or the ability of a young child to win over the world, consider the amazing rise to fame of San Leandro 5-year-old Milan Simone Tuttle.

A kindergartner at Oakland’s St. Lawrence O’Toole School, Milan was transformed into a basketball version of Shirley Temple virtually overnight. Her instant stardom has already taken her to some pretty impressive places, but she has even bigger dreams, most notably a one-on-one date with President-elect Barack Obama.

“He says he’s going to put a gym in the White House, you know,” she said Wednesday. “I’d really like to meet him because he’s going to be the president, and he looks just like me.”

A ballhandling prodigy who has honed her considerable skills with the Triple Threat youth basketball academy at Alameda’s Bladium Sports & Fitness Club, Miss Tuttle catapulted into the mass-market consciousness this week when a video of her dribbling not one but two and three basketballs at once to the backbeat of the Jackson Five’s “ABC” became an online hit at Yahoo Sports and YouTube.

She also performed to rousing ovations at both the men’s and women’s basketball games at the University of California over the weekend, and she filmed live remotes with ABC and NBC morning shows at Bishop O’Dowd High and the Bladium on Wednesday. She has more appearances lined up with Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sports Foundation and the Best Damn Sports Show Period. USF and Stanford want her. The Warriors have inquired as well.

Can Oprah be far behind?