STRATFORD–Back in the 1990s, a fictional character with the moniker Mars Blackmon tried to convince the world it was all about the shoes.
Bunnell High School senior girls basketball guard Jasmine St. Clair might not know much about Spike Lee’s history in raising Michael Jordan’s game in the sneaker industry, but she knows her own set of high-tops says a lot about her.
They are a pair of Lebron XVI’s, AKA the Equality shoes–one is white, one is black.
And St. Clair, a two-guard who can also play the point, had no problems picking out a pair and wearing them out on a basketball court.
“I don’t want to be the same as everyone else,” St. Clair said. “It liked the white and the black. I just wanted to be different.”
St. Clair is different, but only in a good way.
In and a day and age where society applauds normal behavior and toeing the line, St. Clair just wants to be herself.
“I just don’t want to be the same,” she said. “It’s OK to be different. It’s part of my personality. I’m different.”
Buying an expensive pair of sneakers named after one of the sports stars might not be considered being all that different, but St. Clair walks the walks from end line to end line.
“Yeah, she definitely does,” said teammate Maura Kelly, another senior member of the Bunnell girls team. “She’s always the loudest and most energetic. She likes to be noticed for herself and we support her for that.”
St. Clair even adds her own little twist on the shoes, mixing up the laces and wearing different mis-matched socks.
During a recent game against arch-rival Stratford, St. Clair wore one Nike sock and one adidas sock.
In the athletic world where branding means so much, that’s quite a different approach.
“We totally make fun of her for it sometimes,” Kelly said.
As a senior captain, St. Clair also prides herself on being a leader for the Bulldogs.
It is in that vane that she has come the furthest over her high school career, according to Bunnell head coach Cheri Eleazer.
“For me, what I love about Jasmine is that she’s grown as a person,” the third-year coach said. “I’ve seen that. I know she’s a goof ball off the court, but she’s grown as a leader. When I first got here, she was all over the place. She’s gone all the way to left field, but she came right back to center.”
Kelly agreed that St. Clair has come a long way over the course of her carer.
“I’ve played with her for four years and if you look at where she started her freshman year, she’s come a long way,” Kelly said. “Mentally, she’s grown so much. It’s amazing to see the difference.”
When one of the Bulldogs is down, St. Clair is more often than not the first teammate to be there.
“She’s the one is who is going to be there, to help pick you up again,” Kelly added.
“I like to make people happy off the court and on it,” St. Clair admitted. “That’s what I do best.”
The Bulldogs have struggled over the past four years, making the state tournament just once.
But going to practice every day and seeing how hard the team is working, St. Clair knows the program is heading in a better direction.
“We do put lot of work in at practice. People don’t realize that,” St. Clair said. “But we can do better. The way we played against Stratford last week (a 59-39 win) is how we have to play every night.”
St. Clair has two more games left in the regulation season, which probably means two more games in her high school career.
She is looking to go to college and major in criminal justice.
No matter where her road takes her, though, chances are Jasmine St. Clair is going to be her own person, just like she does on the basketball court.