The Toronto Raptors made history this year when they became the first Canadian team to win an NBA Championship. Now, they’re making history all over again. Toronto Raptors new Nike Pro Hijab was announced by the team on Friday morning. The move officially cemented the Raps as the first NBA team in history to have their own licensed line of the traditional Muslim head covering.
In the Raptors' video announcement, Toronto’s own Hijabi Ballers, a local non-profit group on behalf of the involvement of Muslim women in sports, show off their skill at an outdoor basketball court.
The announcement was emotional for some Raptors fans, who've been waiting a long time for this kind of representation.
Inspired by those brave enough to change the game. The Toronto Raptors Nike Pro Hijab is available now.… https://t.co/ykWPupUOhG— Toronto Raptors (@Toronto Raptors)1568383200.0
“Basketball is integral to our growing community in this cultural mosaic of a city. It allows us to come together and play, feel confident in our abilities and be celebrated for who we are,” wrote the Hijabi Ballers in an emotional Instagram post. “We couldn’t be more proud of our athletes and their contribution to changing the culture around sport in the city, and a huge THANK YOU to @raptors for recognizing that.”
And there are plenty of others who feel the same:
@Raptors I love this so much. This movement is huge b/c rather than saying their about inclusivity and diversity, t… https://t.co/7meHZpkCpC— Fatima Ingar (@Fatima Ingar)1568387146.0
@Raptors Thank you!! ♥️🇨🇦♥️🇨🇦 #WeTheNorth— TorontoMuslims.com (@TorontoMuslims.com)1568387939.0
@Raptors Love this! I’m so proud that with the mess that many sports are in, our team chooses to be a beacon of… https://t.co/C24dNRSs9a— Jim Moss (@🏡) (@Jim Moss (@🏡))1568389553.0
@Raptors I have to get one. https://t.co/yLpNEJ8CJf— Jen Maharaj Singh (@Jen Maharaj Singh)1568385027.0
@Raptors This is amazing. First NBA team to have a team specific hijab. I WANT TEN. K THANKS BYE.— Shireen Ahmed (@Shireen Ahmed)1568384351.0
@_shireenahmed_ @Raptors I want ten too this is just amazing!— Rania ❤ (@Rania ❤)1568385790.0
@_shireenahmed_ @Raptors i'm so about this— Evy Kwong (@Evy Kwong)1568384527.0
Representation matters !!!! #muslimgirlshooptoo Thank you @raptors !!!!! ❤❤❤😎😎😎 • • • • • Inspired by those bra… https://t.co/qm3hGY28wF— MissHijabjUSA (@MissHijabjUSA)1568389446.0
Celebrating diversity is a move that makes sense for the Raptors, whose own roster was remarkably diverse during their championship run. Pascal Siakam, a native of Cameroon, Serge Ibaka of the Republic of Congo, and Jeremy Lin, an Asian-American whose parent are from Taiwan, helped bring unique voices to the team this year.
Nike initially launched their first performance hijab, which was designed by female Muslim athletes, back in 2017. The company’s collaboration with the Raptors is Nike's latest initiative to improve inclusivity and accessibility in the athletic apparel world.