NBA champion Raptors launch branded sports hijab

Members of the Hijabi Ballers were featured in a video posted on the Raptors Twitter account. (Twitter pic)

OTTAWA: The NBA champion Toronto Raptors have released a sports hijab featuring the team’s logo, inspired by a group of Muslim women athletes in the Canadian city.

Members of the Hijabi Ballers were featured in the video announcing the product, which was posted on the Raptors Twitter account on Friday.

The Hijabi Ballers project, based in the Greater Toronto Area, seeks to recognise and celebrate the athleticism of Muslim girls and women.

“There was a story about them that came out during the playoffs in the Star talking about how we connect with our diverse group of fans, and that’s where the idea came from,” Jerry Ferguson, senior director of marketing for the Raptors’ parent company Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, told the Toronto Star.

“We were very inspired by them.”

The Raptors said the Nike-made hijab designed for sports and featuring the club’s claw-footed basketball logo will be available for sale at the team’s Scotiabank Arena.

Amreen Kadwa, founder of the Hijabi Ballers, said support from the Raptors is “creating an atmosphere where girls who play basketball can do so with more confidence and more empowerment, and actually feel welcome in that space.”

In 2017 basketball’s international governing body Fiba reversed a controversial ban on professional players wearing headgear – a rule that meant Muslim women players couldn’t wear the hijab and prompted Qatar to pull their women’s basketball team from the 2014 Asian Games.