Hooked on the Hoop: Dur Bali, Basketball Player

As a part of the Ittihad Basketball club, Dur has been creating an impact by participating in basketball championships globally.

The 20-year-old may have just begun navigating her way through the field but her years playing the game have made her someone to keep an eye on. Dur’s love of sports was greatly influenced by her grandparents, “I come from a family of professional athletes. My grandparents are my inspiration. They’re both dermatologists and athletes. My grandfather is a professional basketball player (Dr. Zaher Al Ban) and my grandmother is a professional tennis player (Dr. Suad Khalil).” Regarding her journey in Basketball, Dur says, “My journey in basketball started due to the inspiration from my grandfather. He was a professional basketball player in the Syrian national team. He has always been my biggest supporter and coached me since day one. I officially fell in love with basketball when I was 11, living in Colorado, Denver. I was in Waldorf school and my older sister, Dana, was part of the high school basketball team. I would wait for her to finish practicing after school and the coach would see me wait every day. Eventually, the coach let me practice with them and from that day onward I couldn’t keep off the basketball court.”

It was 2016 when Dur came back to Jeddah and joined the Jeddah United Basketball team, which was then led by Lina Al Maeena, who Dur refers to as her Basketball godmother. Although she started at a lower level, Dur went on to a more advanced team in just a matter of weeks making her the youngest to make the team.

I have participated in the first women’s Saudi National Basketball Cup. I have witnessed history in the evolution of women’s sports which I am very proud of in our country. This sport is evolving and I am blessed to be in it. In the second Saudi National Cup in 2021, I tore my ankle ligaments and tendons hence I couldn’t play for 10 months. It was a long hard journey and it had its ups and downs. I learned to be patient and wait for my time. In December of 2022, I officially signed with Ittihad Saudi Club for women’s basketball. I am currently on that team and it’s a goal accomplished.”

When asked what she considers the most memorable milestones in her journey so far, Dur goes back to her family’s legacy, proudly saying, “My jersey number tells a part of my story. I started off with the number 04, it was my favorite number and it’s my rookie number. Then when I went to the senior’s team I changed my number to 24 because I got better and worked towards my jersey number goal. When I got recruited to the advanced women’s team and started playing professionally I finally earned number 08. Number 08 was my grandfather’s number when he used to play, and it was also his brother’s jersey number and every family member who played, so I was continuing a legacy with this number. I didn’t want to wear the family legacy number till I knew I was playing my best and professionally. I am proud to represent my family with this number, with my head held high.”

What does a day in the life of a Basketball player look like?
“My day starts with an 8 a.m. lecture in college, then I finish around 3 p.m. and go train mobility, stability, strength, and balance at Loca Studios for an hour, then I start working as an event planner in Loca Studios until 8 p.m.
After that, I head to the court at 8 p.m. to warm up and get ready for my training at 9 p.m. We do individual skills, speed training, agility, and work on plans as a team. In training, we focus on creating chemistry between the teammates because that is key to a successful team. I then finish training around 11:30 p.m. and head home.”

Instagram: dur.png

You Might Also Like