A film by Tim O’Donnell and Jon Mercer
Life Without Basketball follows the struggles of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a Muslim-American basketball player, whose record-breaking career was cut short by a ruling that banned her from wearing a hijab on the court as she fights to overturn the ban.
Tim O’Donnell is an Emmy-nominated and award-winning documentary filmmaker. His work has appeared on ESPN, ABC, PBS, Outside TV, the Sundance Film Festival and events around the world.
Jon Mercer is known for his ability to deconstruct a frame or narrative, finding its essential elements and drawing out the underlying emotion. Building drama, finding humor, clarifying reality—his collaborative approach draws out the best and sometimes undiscovered moments of the story.
Life Without Basketball takes us inside the world of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir. As a record-breaking high-school star and college athlete, her life as a basketball player had structure and a clear forward path. Bilqis was raised to follow the Quran and has been wearing a hijab since the age of 14. She extends this practice onto the court as well, covering arms and legs underneath her uniform and wearing a tightly wrapped headscarf. When she began her college career in 2009, she became the first NCAA Division I athlete to do so. Her story attracted the attention of national media and the White House. When discussing her future with an agent, Bilqis encounters a controversial ruling banning players from wearing a headscarf on the court, forcing her to choose between her religion and the sport she loves. As she withdraws from the world of a professional athlete, she finds a new voice as an advocate at the center of an international fight for sport and human rights.
Fundamental to Scientology is a humanitarian mission of extraordinary scope, now extending to some 200 nations. Included therein are programs for human rights, human decency, literacy, morality, drug prevention and disaster relief.
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