Senior Brihtani Lassiter knows what it means to be a team player.
A point guard for women’s basketball, Lassiter led the ’Cats in both scoring and assists on the way to being named to the Northwest Conference all-star team. Lassiter proved herself to be just as comfortable making a difference as she was helping other players become game-changers.
As graduation nears, Lassiter is already moving forward with the same sense of focus and leadership she shows on the court.
The Harlem Ambassadors, a comedy basketball and youth outreach program, contacted assistant basketball coach Meadow Lemon in early April.
They wanted to speak with Lassiter about a job.
Part gag reel, part highlight reel, the Ambassadors are not unlike the more famous Harlem Globetrotters in that they offer a glimpse of humor and wonder through basketball.
Their central focus, however, is motivational speaking to youth, Lassiter said.
As part of a tryout stint, the Ambassadors flew Lassiter to California to play with the team.
She ended up playing against an intramural team from a naval base in Point Mugu, Calif., as well as a parent-teacher association team from a high school in Marina, Calif.
“We talked about being drug free, staying in school, believing in yourself and having discipline,” Lassiter said in reference to the assemblies the Ambassadors give to groups of area children.
The Ambassadors hired her. Now she’s a professional basketball player and motivational speaker–all in a matter of weeks.
“It was all completely unexpected,” she said. “In the time frame it was a good thing because I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do with my life after I graduate?’ This sort of fell into my lap.”
Pairing two of her passions, the love of basketball and the desire to influence children, Lassiter said this job means she’ll get to keep doing what’s important
Head women’s basketball coach Robyn Stewart, who has watched Lassiter embrace the responsibilities that came with her senior year, said the job is a
“They were looking for someone who could play a little ball and still be comfortable speaking,” Stewart said. “She’s just got that engaging personality, and she’s very passionate about the game.”
Stewart said Lassiter’s motivation has led her further than just the basketball courts.
Her involvement in school activities and academics will benefit her with the Ambassador’s job.
“She has the ability to connect to a lot of different people,” Stewart said.
Lassiter taught classes for Linfield’s Kid Fit program, an after-school nutritionand exercise class for children ages seven to 18.
“Being in athletics, kids generally look up to you,” Lassiter said. “They’re going to listen to you. They want to be in your position.”
Having a job that directly impacts children is not something Lassiter takes lightly, she said.
She said she doesn’t know how long she’ll stay with the Ambassadors.
Lassiter wants to get a master’s degree and become a physical therapist or a physician’s assistant, she said.
Being with the Ambassador will allow her to travel, meet new people and make herself marketable.
Mostly, Lassiter gets to make a big impact in a handful of little ways.
“It’s a chance to play with the kids,” she said. “That’s the best part–they think you’re a rock star. You come in and they look up to you so much. You show them ways they can change their lives in a positive way. I think it’s very important.”