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Hijab-wearing gamers in ladies’s NCAA Match intention to interrupt limitations

N.C. State’s Jannah Eissa and UC Irvine’s Diaba Konate are gaining attention for wearing hijabs while playing basketball during the NCAA Tournament. While they aren’t the first to do so in NCAA Tournament play, their visibility has increased due to record viewership and attendance. Eissa said she finds motivation in her young fans, aiming to

Hijab-wearing gamers in ladies’s NCAA Match intention to interrupt limitations

  • N.C. State’s Jannah Eissa and UC Irvine’s Diaba Konate are gaining consideration for carrying hijabs whereas taking part in basketball in the course of the NCAA Match.
  • Whereas they don’t seem to be the primary to take action in NCAA Match play, their visibility has elevated attributable to file viewership and attendance.
  • Eissa mentioned she finds motivation in her younger followers, aiming to encourage hope and optimistic illustration for girls in hijabs by her basketball profession.

N.C. State’s Jannah Eissa and UC Irvine’s Diaba Konate are bringing visibility and inspiration to some Muslim women by carrying hjiabs whereas they play basketball.

They are not the primary ladies to do it in NCAA Match play, however with file viewership and attendance they’re definitely getting seen.

“Illustration actually issues,” mentioned Konate, whose group misplaced within the first spherical of the event to Gonzaga. “Simply having folks, younger Muslim ladies carrying the hijab, we’re not there but. Simply seeing us play, I believe it makes me actually pleased as a result of I used to have those that I used to be trying as much as. Now having those that look as much as me makes me pleased.”


Konate admires Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, who made NCAA history by being the primary to put on a hijab in school basketball when she performed for Memphis a decade in the past. Abdul-Qaadir was instrumental in getting FIBA, the Worldwide Basketball Federation, to overturn its personal ban on headgear in 2017.

Jannah Eissa

North Carolina State’s Jannah Eissa warms up previous to a second-round school basketball recreation towards Tennessee within the NCAA Match on March 25, 2024, in Raleigh, N.C. Eissa is bringing visibility and inspiration to some Muslim ladies by carrying her hijab whereas she performs basketball. (AP Picture/Ben McKeown)

Former UConn participant Batouly Camara, who was one of many first to put on a hijab in Spain’s LF1 league, has loved seeing Eissa and Konate characterize their faith.

“It’s actually inspiring to witness these two Muslim athletes competing on the highest degree. This event serves as a big second, shining a highlight on one of the best groups concurrently with their religion,” mentioned Camara, who based the non-profit group Girls And Children Empowerment (WAKE) in 2017. “It sends a robust message to ladies worldwide, affirming that they belong on the sports activities area, no matter financial class, race, tradition and extra.”

Konate began 31 of 32 video games for UC Irvine, averaging 7.5 factors and almost 4 assists. She moved to the U.S. from France after receiving a scholarship from Idaho State. She transferred to UC Irvine as a junior.

She’d like an opportunity to play in a hijab at dwelling in France, the place she gained two medals taking part in on their youth groups. However presently, the French Federation of Basketball prohibits the carrying of “any gear with a non secular or political connotation.”

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“Being French and internet hosting the Olympics, it actually hurts to not be capable of be ourselves,” mentioned Konate, who first began carrying the hijab in 2020. “Hopefully, it modifications.”

Eissa and Konate have by no means met, however are conscious of one another.

“I simply know there’s one other lady carrying a hijab,” Eissa mentioned. “I simply noticed a submit about two days in the past. I used to be so pleased there are different folks.”


Eissa, who turned 18 in February, was a walk-on at N.C. State. She joined the group after making an attempt out in September. She did not play a lot this season — showing in 11 video games and hitting one 3-pointer.

Earlier this season, a gaggle of younger Muslim women got here to her recreation. In addition they confirmed up just a few extra instances to help her.

“I’d like to say I used to be a task mannequin to them. By no means thought I might be a task mannequin for somebody I didn’t know,” mentioned Eissa, who grew up in Cairo earlier than coming to N.C. State. “By no means knew one particular person might make such an influence. They have been so younger women and women my age trying as much as me and I used to be so pleased.”

Eissa selected N.C. State as a result of her father bought his PhD there and her two older sisters attend the university.

She mentioned when having a nasty day or an off day, she’d bear in mind her younger followers and it could carry a smile.

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“In the event that they see somebody giving them hope, I’m pleased that I’m the particular person to provide it to them,” Eissa mentioned. “I wish to make it so far as I can for the picture of ladies in hijabs.”

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