Raptors release team-branded sports hijab inspired by Toronto Muslim athletes
Parent organization MLSE says the move is a first for an NBA team
The Toronto Raptors say a new line of team-branded hijabs is part of a broader effort to be more inclusive to fans of all cultures.
The team's parent company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, unveiled the Nike Pro hijabs emblazoned with the team logo in a social media post on Friday.
In doing so, they say the Raptors became the first team in the National Basketball Association to offer an athletic hijab for Muslim women.
MLSE Senior Marketing Director Jerry Ferguson says the organization was inspired to create the hijabs by a local Muslim women's organization known as the Hijabi Ballers.
The move prompted plenty of positive reaction online:
I love this so much. This movement is huge b/c rather than saying their about inclusivity and diversity, they’re actually taking action and implementing it. As a Muslim women who wears the hijab and plays sports, I wanna say thank you and well done ❤️👏🏻—@Ingar43
The 2019 NBA Champions <a href="https://twitter.com/Raptors?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Raptors</a> have released a <a href="https://twitter.com/Nike?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Nike</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/hijab?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#hijab</a> for all the ballers, fans and everyone else who wants an amazing headcovering. This matters. Props to <a href="https://twitter.com/hijabiballers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hijabiballers</a> for being the real MVP. Hijab available at <a href="https://twitter.com/RealSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RealSports</a>.<a href="https://t.co/3WMfE21CHL">https://t.co/3WMfE21CHL</a>—@_shireenahmed_
Just sent off my 14 year old daughter to her Pakman Volleyball tryouts in this Nike Hijab since she decided this year to start wearing a Hijab. Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/Raptors?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Raptors</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Nike?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Nike</a> for supporting our hijabi girls. <a href="https://t.co/3FGHnQqrQm">https://t.co/3FGHnQqrQm</a>—@hebamousa83
Ferguson says MLSE designed the gear in collaboration with the women, who regularly play basketball at a community court associated with the team.
He says the Raptors want to send a message of inclusion to its widely diverse fan base, which grew substantially during the playoff run that saw the team win its first NBA championship earlier this year.