An average of 42 points per game,
Passing Rebecca Lobo’s 17-year-old Massachusetts high school mark of 2,710 career points is about as easy as bumping Julie Andrews off the hilltop, and yet Bilqis graciously eclipsed the legend in January on her way to becoming the first player in state history — male or female — to score 3,000 points.
And as the author states, she does it in “full” hijab. Albeit not quite the “full” hijab, it is still quite remarkable that this sister is able to not only play basketball in what would be considered “difficult” clothing requirements, but also excel as she is doing.
And the enigma of the “Hijabi basketball star” is not ending anytime soon as Bilqis is expected to become the first Muslim player in NCAA Division I history to take the basketball court in full dress when she starts her college career next fall on scholarship at Memphis, a top tier basketball program. I am not sure how many Muslim men stars have played at the NCAA Div 1 level, but I imagine that there have been quite a few.
Regardless of the hijab nuances in this case*, there is no doubt that she represents a positive portrayal of Muslims in the media (remember everything is relative). And in the past, stars such as Hakeem Olajuwan and Shareef Abdur-Raheem have done nothing but to help the image of Islam. So, there is definitely some positive here.
Read the rest of the article on Sports Illustrated webpage here (PDF of newspaper cutting).
Also, there is a short TV news clip of the sister as player of the week (viewer discretion advised: there are highlights of Bilqis playing a high-school girls’ basketball game).*The sister may believe that she is indeed complying with the hijab, because I have seen many others who pray at the Imam WD Muhammad Masajids, and who wear similar “styles” of hijab. My goal in presenting this nuance is to remind everyone about the need for benefit of doubt inshallah.