Boston-Based Somali Basketballer Is Breaking The Cultural Limitations Facing Muslim Women

Jamad Fiin stunns the world with her basketball skills
Jamad Fiin stunns the world with her basketball skills (Photo credit @_jamaaad/Instagram)
Jamad Fiin stuns the world with her basketball skills (Photo credit @_jamaaad/Instagram)

For Muslim women who love basketball, Jamad Fiin is a trailblazer who is breaking long-standing cultural limitations. She is inspiring Muslim girls in Bostonโ€”and around the worldโ€”to play basketball. This came after Fiinโ€™s video about her dribbling skills went viral, making her an internet sensation.

Fiin was brought up in a Muslim Somali family in Boston. She attended Boston Latin School. After high school, she joined Clark University and then transferred to Emmanuel College during her sophomore year.

Jamad Fiinโ€™s Lover for Basketball

She started playing basketball at age 12. Fiin says that basketball was always near her because their family mosque was near Timilty Park. The young dribbler and her brothers frequented this park to play. Waking up early to work out and playing whenever she had an opportunity especially after school helped her to quickly acquire basketball skills.

But, as her interest in playing grew, so did her motherโ€™s concern because her daughter was engaging in what was unusual in their culture. Somali parents in the neighborhood were disturbed by Fiinโ€™s involvement in sports. Finn says she used to feel the surprise of people who didnโ€™t expect to see a Muslim girl playing basketball. Her father said,

โ€œYou know, peopleโ€ฆ theyโ€™re afraid because they knew the influence Jamad (was) going to have on their kids.โ€

The young basketball lover even tried to persuade her Muslim girlfriends to play but they declined. So, she could not go unnoticed because she was the only Female Muslim player on the court. Luckily she had the support of her father. He drove her to different courts in an attempt to find a place she could feel welcomed. Eventually, they discovered a community center in Roxbury. This was where she met other players from the Somali community. It was at this community center that Fiin honed her basketball skills.

Jamad Fiinโ€™s Video Goes Viral

One day in 2016, Fiin and her friends were in one of Bostonโ€™s courts where they accepted a pickup game challenge. The young basketball enthusiast was already an expert in dribbling. Dressed in a traditional Muslim outfit, she dribbled while her hijab bobbed rhythmically to the beat of the game. During one move, she smoothly weaved between opponents and aimed at the hoop. The ball went through the net after bouncing off the backboard.


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Later on, Fiin discovered a friend had recorded the play using her phone. When she saw the video, she forwarded it to her cousin. She had no clue about what would happen next. The views and likes on this video skyrocketed after her cousin posted it on Twitter. Upon watching it, Fiinโ€™s friends filled her phone with congratulatory texts. At first, the young Muslim dribbler had not known that her video had gone viral. She recalls,

โ€œI finally realized in the morning when I woke up and everybody was texting me how viral and crazy it went.โ€

Finn Attracts Masses on Social Media

This happened in early 2017 when Jamad Fiin was a senior at Boston Latin School. Her four-second video electrified basketball players and fans from across the world. It also drew the attention of several musicians including Drake, OverTime, and Lil Baby. She says,

โ€œThey didnโ€™t really expect a Muslim girl dressed in the scarf and a skirt to actually play basketball.โ€

Also, her social media followers on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube increase rapidly. Subsequently, she used her newfound social influence to post videos of her dribbling and ball-handling skills. This further grew her followership. Upon joining Emmanuel College to pursue biology studies, she led the womenโ€™s basketball team to back-to-back championships at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). Speaking about her, the teamsโ€™ head coach, Andrew Yosinoff, said,

โ€œAll her teammates just look up to her,โ€ฆ I mean, she gets along with everyoneโ€ฆ She just has that warm outgoing personality that you have to like her.โ€

Jamad Fiin and her team mates
Jamad Fiin and her teammates [Photo credit: Eminetra]

The Genesis of Jamad Basketball Camps

While in college, the Boston-based Somali basketballer started thinking about how she could inspire other Muslim girls who love basketball. Fiin thought that she could leverage her fame to bring together young women and empower them through basketball. So, in 2019, she founded Jamad Basketball Camps. She says,

โ€œI started free basketball camps for young girls in different cities to help motivate them and boost their confidence.โ€

Jamad Fiin having a nice outdoor evening (Photo credit @_jamaaad/Instagram)
Jamad Fiin having a nice outdoor evening (Photo credit @_jamaaad/Instagram)

She began by hosting a basketball camp in her hometown, Boston, before doing the same in other cities. To date, she has taught and enhanced the skills of young Muslim girls from different cities in the US and Canada including Columbus, Minneapolis, and Toronto. Jamad Fiin has helped many young Muslim girls to realize that they can pursue their passion regardless of their religion or culture. She hopes to continue inspiring many young girls, particularly among the Muslim community. In her words,

โ€œI just want people to, if they see me with my scarf, just know that Iโ€™m a Muslim woman, I play basketball; I can do the same things that other women can do,โ€ฆ It doesnโ€™t matter if Iโ€™m Muslim or not. We have the same rights that other people do.โ€ ย 

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