Former Rams basketball player Clinton Lassiter has taken the game he loves to a new level while empowering inner-city girls.
Lassiter is the founder of Boston Showstoppers, an athletic enrichment program with a mission of developing elite female student athletes committed to academic excellence, self-empowerment, community engagement, good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
“Our motto is ‘Dreams come true if you put the effort and time into anything in life,’” he says. “We use basketball as a motor to keep girls off the streets and get them more exposure to life outside of Boston.”
Many of the life lessons that Lassiter teaches the girls are similar to what he learned while a student athlete at the University.
“Besides receiving a good education, Suffolk taught me how to be dedicated to getting things done on time, how to carry myself in certain situations and how to be a well-rounded person,” says Lassiter, a middle school math teacher. “But above everything else, the school taught me how to make it in the real world.”
During his first year with the Boston Showstoppers – which he started in June 2007, a month after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Suffolk – Lassiter coached a summer league team with just seven girls, including his two nieces. The squad went undefeated, and word quickly spread about their success.
Today the program consists of nine teams of 12 players. The girls range in age from 7 to 16.
In 2011 and 2012, the sixth grade team captured back-to-back state and national championship titles.
“I’m definitely surprised by how fast our program has grown,” says Lassiter, whose teams have played in tournaments locally, throughout the Northeast and in Florida.
“It’s a credit to all the girls who really love to play and appreciate the opportunity as well as all the coaches and parents who volunteer their time to make this all work.
“The girls have to remain focused and committed on the court, in the classroom, and within the community. I’m always telling them that they can go to college and make something of their lives.”
Lassiter shared his story with other young alumni who were recognized for their career accomplishments at a “10 Under 10” reception in April. All 10 of the alumni honored earned their Suffolk University degrees within the past decade.