The saying goes, “Dance like no one is watching.” By doing just that, bleacherreport.com ranked senior Mayem as the 15th “Coolest Dancer” in the NBA.
Mayem is in her third season of dancing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and landed a spot on the list among 53 dancers. By NBA contract, Mayem only goes by her first name.
“It feels great,” Mayem said. “It actually caught me by surprise. I didn’t know that this blog was out, but one of the captains got a hold of it … it was pretty cool to see.”
Mayem’s coach Athenia Elie, a former St. John’s University Dance Team coach and NBA dancer, also recognized Mayem’s passion.
“When she does dance on the court, it’s getting a lot bigger and stronger,” Elie said. “I knew it was always there, but it wasn’t so strong in the beginning. Now she just lets it all out.”
Elie also expressed her confidence in placing Mayem center for routines because of her growth.
For Mayem, reaching this point has been a journey of calculated steps.
“Dance has been a huge part of my family. My oldest sisters and I started when we were about in second grade,” Mayem said. “We did it all throughout high school, went to studio, did jazz, tap, ballet.”
Although Mayem started dancing at a young age, her desire to grow continues.
“It takes a lot of passion, drive and just a lot of motivation. You have to always do your best,” Mayem said.
Mayem practices twice a week, for a total of six hours. Each week, the team performs a new routine at the Timberwolves basketball games.
The blasting music and anticipation of cheering fans at games motivate Mayem to give each performance her all.
“It’s actually kind of a rush feeling to see all of the fans surrounded by you,” Mayem said. “You’re just on the court just doing what you love and having fun.”
What Mayem loves most about dancing for the Timberwolves is the energy she gets from her teammates.
“All of the girls on the team have become my sisters,” Mayem said. ”So it’s fun to share that bond with them.”
Eden Checkol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.