ARLINGTON — Basketball entertainer and motivational speaker Ilze Luneau paid a visit to Arlington Memorial Middle and High School on Tuesday, entertaining the students with stunts and teaching lessons on setting goals, working hard, and never giving up.
Luneau, who was born in Latvia, was an all-American basketball player at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, which she attended from 1993-1997, and graduated with a degree in finance and international business. She later attended the State University of New York, Albany, where she earned her master's degree in business administration. Now, with three children, she performs basketball shows year round, according to her website, basketballfamily.com.
Besides performing for students of all grade levels across New York and Vermont, Luneau has performed at college, NBA, and WNBA halftime shows, and has appeared on ESPN, the Ellen Degeneres Show, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She was the first person to ever dribble six basketballs simultaneously using only her hands, and remains the only woman to accomplish the feat.
Her shows contain all sorts of tricks, such as dribbling, juggling, and spinning, and often include volunteers from the audience. The highlight of Tuesday's show was when Luneau bent a spoon and fed a student pudding while simultaneously spinning a basketball on the other end of the spoon. Luneau's message, however, goes beyond basketball. She uses the shows as an opportunity to teach children about staying true to their values, setting goals, and living balanced lives that allow them to enjoy every day and achieve their dreams.