The Toronto Raptors are making history once again.
In June, they became the first Canadian team to win an NBA Championship. This week, they became the first team to sell a branded hijab, the headscarf worn by many Muslim women.
The Raptors unveiled the team-branded Nike Pro Hijab on social media Friday.
The hijab, which features a Raptors claw on one side and a Nike Swoosh on the other, was “inspired by those brave enough to change the game,” the team said on Twitter.
The tweet included a video of Muslim women playing basketball. In the video, a woman says: “Growing up, I didn’t have so many role models that looked like me.”
“It’s about Muslim females not having to give up their identity or feeling like they have to sacrifice some portion of their identity, but also still play whatever sport they want.”
The women in the video are members of Hijabi Ballers, a Toronto-area athletic club for Muslim girls and women.
The club collaborated with the Raptors to launch the branded hijab.
“We’re excited and humbled to partner with none other than the 2019 NBA Champions @raptors to present our mandate to the world — celebrating and increasing opportunities for Muslim girls and women in sport — as they launch the new Toronto Raptors @Nike Pro Hijab!” the club said on Instagram.
They also thanked the Raptors for recognizing the role Muslim women play in “changing the culture around sport” in the city.
Amreen Kadwa, founder and executive director of Hijabi Ballers, said the Raptors were accommodating and respectful of the club and what they needed to bring to the hijab to market.
“It’s one thing to do a launch. But it’s another thing to actually involve the local community and involve the athletes that are going to be using these hijabs, so that was really nice of them to involve us in the process,” Kadwa told CNN.
The 24-year-old founder said the response has been overwhelming.
“With the Raptors releasing a hijab to this market of hijab-wearing athletes, it shows that they’re a team that actually truly respects diversity and inclusivity and will take that extra step to involve Muslim athletes in their growth as a team and organization,” said Kadwa.
The branded hijab sells for $40 at the Real Sports Apparel store at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. It is currently not available online.
Nike launched the “Pro Hijab” series in 2017. It has since been worn by athletes at a range of sporting events, including fencing and figure skating.
By Alaa Elassar, CNN