Meet the Oakland 9-year-old who went viral ballin' against Governor Gavin Newsom

ByLarry Beil and Julianne Herrera via KGO logo
Saturday, September 18, 2021
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An Oakland 9-year-old went viral after playing basketball with Governor Newsom. Here's what he said about it in an interview with ABC7 News.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom visited the Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland to talk about government and civics, but it's a moment from the playground that wound up going viral.

Newsom spun a basketball around on his finger, drawing cheers from the kids gathered around him.

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Then, 9-year-old Donario Simon stole the show.

The governor passed him the ball, and Donario was ready.

Right as he was about to put a move on Newsom, the video stopped.

ABC7 News reporter Liz Kreutz stopped recording before we could see what happened next, not knowing the explosion of responses the abrupt ending would garner on Twitter.

Donario's clearly got game, and "twitterverse" was demanding to see what happened next.

After becoming an instant sensation, Donario and his mom Crystal Clark joined ABC7 News to talk about the big moment.

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Donario was a humble young man on the show. Twitter has come the consensus that he could have "broken the governor's ankles."

But when we asked him, he replied with a smile, and a modest, "yeah."

Even Golden State Warriors' first round draft pick Moses Moody took notice of Donario's talent, and recorded a special message that we played during the interview.

"You've got some serious skills," he told Donario. "Keep working and one day you can make it to the big stage," he said.

Without missing a beat, "out of Arkansas," Donario said, referring to the college Moody played for.

But his favorite players, he told us, are the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. He said Trailblazers star Damian Lillard is another one of his favorites, as he's from Oakland, just like Donorio.

"He's from Oakland and he's, like, a big inspiration to me," Donario said.

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Another inspiration, is his mom, who is a talented basketball player herself and even coached Donario's team.

He says he learned a mot of his moves from her.

You can check out Donario's Instagram page, here.

And if you're curious about some of the reactions on Twitter, here's a small, but hilarious sample: