Becoming the owner of a basketball franchise was never part of Lindsey Streeter’s post-military career goals. But it fit in nicely with his game plan for life.
“I like to make big-splash plays, I like to try to do things that will be impactful,” said Streeter, who served 31 years in the Army. “And I like to involve others so that I can turn around and give the credit to the whole team, share the glory of whatever comes.
For this veteran, owning a basketball team is about more than filling a stadium. “It’s about making the community believe it’s their actual team, and they’re part of the effort too,” he said.
Streeter, the recipient of the 2023 Veteran of the Year Award from Military Times, was already an all-star in the community outreach game before his latest professional sports venture.
Since 2016, he has handled veterans programs for Bank of America, and currently acts as the company’s Senior Vice President of Global Military Affairs. The role has given him a major platform as a voice for hiring and supporting veterans in the workforce, and using military experience to improve the corporate world. He also serves as Georgia’s ambassador for the U.S. Army Reserve, lobbying on service member quality of life issues.
When his wife, Mary Ann, passed away in 2020, he took over leadership of her nonprofit, Quad E, which provides preventive health care options to vulnerable individuals. On Sundays, he serves as a deacon at his local church.
And last year, Streeter became owner of the Savannah Hurricanes of the Triple Threat Basketball League, not to live out unfulfilled athletic dreams but because he saw an opportunity to use the platform to help out in the Georgia community he now calls home.
Along with the normal tasks of promoting an upstart sports league, Streeter has put extra emphasis on youth outreach programs across Savannah, with training camps and school visits a staple of the team’s schedule.
“All the different jobs and roles feel like a lot, but it’s really just one agenda,” Streeter said in a phone interview conducted from his car in-between a charity appearance and a corporate meeting. “We’re looking at building partnerships, we’re looking at ways we can help the community as a whole. And we stay focused on those goals.
“And because I’m getting after so much purpose, it really doesn’t feel like it’s extra work. The energy is there because the passion fuels that, and getting to see the impact of the work just keeps me going.”
Service and citizenship have always been a part of Streeter’s life, even before he joined the military. He remembers as a young child in Washington, D.C., growing up in a poor family but still taking part in charity efforts for local institutions. He said his mother instilled the idea of giving back to the community, even when they had little of their own to spare.
In the Army, Streeter served several stints as a recruiter before taking over as a battalion command sergeant major and later as commandant of the Non-Commissioned Officers Academy. In all the jobs, he was reminded of the responsibility he had to help build up young soldiers and grow them into future leaders.
“I have a personal mission statement that says I’m going to use my time, my talents and my resources to impact others in a meaningful way,” he said. “And it says that my reputation precedes me, and so I’ve got to live my life in a purposeful manner that keeps me focused on that.”
When Streeter left the service in 2016, he wanted to continue those connections to the community and the military. The new civilian job with Bank of America gave him both.
“They asked me to ensure that the veteran culture there was right,” he said. “Our goal was not just to make the company veteran-friendly, but veteran-ready. And through our changes and example, we’ve been able to affect other organizations and help shape their culture by giving them things to emulate.”
Those veteran hiring efforts have even extended to the basketball team: The Hurricanes’ coach and general manager are also retired non-commissioned officers.
Streeter said he is conscious that for many individuals in the groups he works with — especially the young basketball players whose whole lives have revolved around sports — he is often the first or most prominent veteran they have known. He says that puts even more pressure on him to make sure he is reflecting that personal pledge of service and integrity.
“I don’t typically lead with my veteran status when folks in the community meet me, but I think it becomes apparent once they hear me talk and start running the show,” he said. “So, I’m always keeping in mind that I am an ambassador for the community. And I want to give credit to the Army for what they did for me, to help me become who I am today.”
Streeter was named CEO of the year for the Triple Threat Basketball League this season, and his Savannah Hurricanes made the playoffs. But he says the biggest wins so far have been the wide-eyes of the local kids he’s watched interacting with team members, and the community partners who said they’re looking forward to future work with the franchise.
“To the onlooker, the team is filling up a gym and they’re playing good basketball,” he said. “They care about winning on the court. But I care about winning in the community.”
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.