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Clever basketball shot seen on TikTok builds empire for Fairfax County man

A phrase that started as a basketball trick has translated into a social media empire and a restaurant for two Fairfax County natives.

Halal Wrist began as a clever maneuver of the hand that enabled Soufiane Bernoukh to make a perfect basketball shot. The trick shot was caught on video and soon went viral on TikTok and was coined “Halal Wrist.” Halal is an Islamic term that denotes permissibility.

A resident of the county’s Alexandria area, Bernoukh always dreamed of playing basketball in the NBA, and he played college ball at Ferrum College. His shot caught the eyes of major brands like the NBA, Foot Locker, Nike, and Reebok.

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“It’s kind of always been the story of my life. I feel like I’ve always been the underdog, but I always use it as a positive thing because it pushed me to get to where I am today,” said Bernoukh, who aspires to become an actor and comedian.

In an unpredictable step, Bernoukh and Ayman Beshir, who used to play basketball together at recreation centers in the county, teamed up with a college friend to bring Halal Wrist into a different public space: a restaurant.

Halal Wrist, which offers bowls, wraps, wings, gyro and other items, opened at 3019 Georgia Avenue NW in D.C. in February.

“The restaurant is something we always talked about,” Bernoukh told FFXnow. “Having the name ‘Halal Wrist’ started off as a basketball brand but we always thought it would be really dope to have a halal restaurant one day, halal being the food and the wrist being a metaphor to cooking. It honestly happened way faster than we expected and we’re extremely blessed to be able to see it all come into fruition.”

The restaurant business is new to both men as well as a college friend who manages e-commerce for the brand.

Beshir wears “so many hats,” including Bernoukh’s manager and videographer, he says.

The friends hope to launch other locations once they establish their flagship site.

“We’re constantly thinking of ways to expand the brand and we’re really excited to announce a few other business ventures we plan on launching soon,” Beshir said.

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