Getting ready to get on the court, this is the time Jamad Fiin has been waiting for. After all the struggles and hate she has been through. She thinks, as she fixes her hijab, about workouts at dawn at the Emmanuel court. Fueled by a desire to succeed, to improve and to make a positive impact, Jamad was willing to put in the hard work and effort required to achieve her goal. She knows she is ready for this. Scared, nervous, proud, happy, and excited, she has dreamt about this moment all her life, the moment she’ll walk onto that court and teach what she has been taught. With her family, especially her dad, supporting her on the side, who she knows will always be there. She has dreamed about helping girls like her to get this dream as well.
Jamad Fiin is a Somali, Muslim basketball player raised in Boston. Throughout her life she always had an interest in basketball: the competition and the bonding. As a child, she played with her brothers and their friends. But as a hijabi, there were a lot of people in the Somali community saying she couldn’t play basketball, or who would be rude to her about it. She took those critics’ words and made sure she would prove them wrong. She knew as the only Somali girl in her community to play ball that she would make her dreams come true. Her dad was always by her side, even convincing her mom to let her play. Once at a common park, she was playing basketball in a dress and a hijab while making a left hand layup. Her cousin posted a video of it online, neither ready for what could happen next. The next morning is when she knew she had gone viral. She got messages of people congratulating her and thousands upon thousands of views. You don’t see hijabis being good at basketball. Since then, she wanted to change that stereotype for the better.
After a few years, Fiin realized that she was not the only hijabi playing basketball. She refused to let girls who look like her go through the same thing she did. “I was in the gym one day and I was about 18 years old and many younger girls were also in the gym with me. I did not want to play against them so I started teaching them how to play and showing them different workouts to do.” At that point she knew what she had to do. She refused to let these girls go through the pressure she went through. I was one of the girls that grew up with Jamad, she really helped me in getting better at the sport, and I met girls who look like me that play the same sports. I have really close bonds with those girls and enjoy playing with them. I was able to thank Jamad for this opportunity. Speaking as someone who was inspired by her, even before the fame, she has made practices at the school to help me and my friends play basketball. She would provide the resources we needed to practice and get better at the sport. Fiin helped me get through stereotypes, and focus on what matters more.
Since then, Fiin has used her internet popularity to inspire young women through basketball, and launched a camp to continue that work. This camp has helped many people in different states. Fiin said the camps are great because when the campers attend, “they make friendships and continue seeing one another and creating a bond over basketball.” The camp helps muslim girls get better at basketball and get closer together. Being able to connect with the girls made it easy for them to play together and learn their weaknesses and strengths. Even currently her camp is still on, and there are fun games with teams. The program is not only for Muslims, it is open for many people who want to learn to play ball.
Jamad Fiin has worked hard for many years to help the younger generation. Outside of the camp, she was able to help her mom open a school for orphans in Somalia, one with a basketball hoop. “I feel very grateful for the success I have now because I envisioned it as a little girl,” Fiin said. “I told myself I would be a role model for so many younger girls that looked like me and that is where I succeeded.”