Get to know the former New York Yankees pro’s sister, Sharlee Jeter
Much like her famous big brother, Derek Jeter, Sharlee Jeter is a star athlete.
Growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, baseball was in the Jeter blood. While Derek is well-known as one of the greatest New York Yankee players of all time his father, Sanderson Charles Jeter, also played baseball, and his younger sister, Sharlee, was an excellent high school softball player.
Though she dreamed of playing in the Olympics, being in her brother’s shadow grew frustrating, and she changed her plans. But that doesn’t mean there is any animosity — the Jeter siblings are very close. The two publicly and privately support each other, especially during Shalee’s battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was a 21-year-old senior at Spelman College in Atlanta.
Sharlee now works in high-powered positions in many of Derek’s businesses. She is president of his non-profit, the Turn 2 Foundation; the VP of Strategy & Development of Jeter Ventures; and oversees the children and adult divisions of Jeter Publishing.
“I’m always going to have this man’s back! Thanks for trusting me with one of your greatest achievements @derekjeter," Sharlee captioned a photo of herself and Derek at the Turn 2 Gala in October 2022. “You have done so much for so many through the Turn 2 Foundation. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
She is also the co-author of the book The Stuff: Unlock Your Power to Overcome Challenges, Soar, and Succeed, an exploration of how people overcome hardships, much like Sharlee did as a young adult cancer survivor.
“I turned something really bad into something that, for me, was a badge of honor,” she told the New York Post in 2018. “Taking a cancer diagnosis and saying, ‘This is going to be my thing. It’s going to separate me from Derek. No one can compare me to him, with this battle. Nobody can say I got through it because of him.’ What they’re gonna say is I got through it.”
So who is Derek Jeter’s sister? Here's everything to know about Sharlee Jeter.
She is a Michigan native
The younger child of Dorothy and Sanderson Jeter, who met in 1972 while serving in the United States Army, Sharlee was born in 1979. Though her brother was born in New Jersey, Sharlee was born and raised in Michigan.
She graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 1997. The family quite literally lived and breathed America's pastime — as the Jeters lived next door to the school’s softball and baseball complex.
Both Jeter kids grew up with a strong work ethic and signed handwritten contracts at the beginning of every school year that spelled out their study habits, expected grades and curfew times. Sharlee told Leaders Magazine that her father, a drug and alcohol abuse counselor, and her mother, an accountant, "instilled in Derek and me the importance of hard work, education and community service.”
After Kalamazoo Central, Sharlee earned her B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College in Atlanta in 2001.
She was also a ball player
Derek isn’t the only Jeter who knows his way around the baseball field!
Like Derek, Sharlee was a shortstop. She played in high school, and the New York Times reported in 2001 that Derek thought his sister was the best shortstop in the family.
The entire Jeter family would condition together, going on nightly walks and working on techniques.
"Some people go to the movies for fun,” Sharlee told the Westchester Journal News in 1999. “We went to the field. It was part of being close.”
Sharlee dreamed of attending the University of Michigan and playing in the Olympics, but being compared to Derek took its toll, and she altered those plans.
"He didn't have that shadow over him. I had it every day of my life," she once said, according to the New York Times.
She is a cancer survivor
Sharlee was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in November 2001, during her senior year at Spelman.
Her parents had since moved to Northern New Jersey, where Dorothy had grown up, and Sharlee convinced them that she could stay in school in Georgia and do her treatments in New York City. During her six months of chemotherapy, she flew back and forth between Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey, every two weeks. Though she was disappointed to not walk with her classmates in May 2001, she graduated only a few months later that December.
"I'm not going to allow something to come into my life and turn everything upside down,” Sharlee told mlive.com in 2018. "I think being young was helpful, being young and fearless, and just saying no, I don't want to move back home."
While Sharlee was going through treatment, the Jeter family kept her cancer battle private. It wasn’t until she was declared in remission in May 2001 that Derek revealed the news because “now it's a success story.”
"Our family is not immune to anything that goes on in society," Derek told the Times. "We never expect[ed] nothing like this to hit our family. It's just one of those things you have to deal with and, fortunately, it's over with."
"It was more difficult for her," the Hall of Famer added. "We don't want to make it out that it was more difficult for me. She's the one that was going through it."
Sharlee told Today in 2018 that Derek’s reaction to her cancer was like “any big brother."
“To me, he was very calm, supportive, but his reaction behind the scenes, he’d call my parents and it'd be a different tone and ‘what's going on’ and drilling them what happened at the doctor. He was a little bit more shaken up than what he showed to me,” she said.
She is a baseball mom
Sharlee is a single mom to her son Jalen Jeter-Martin, whom she shares with DJ Premier and is raising in New Jersey.
“Jalen, you bring light to everyone you encounter. You are kind, you are eager to learn, you are a good friend and you love hard,” Sharlee wrote on Instagram in honor of her son's 12th birthday in June 2023. “Thank you for blessing my life. Thank you for showing me my true purpose. And thanks for the constant joy and laughter.”
Like his mom, uncle, and grandfather, Jalen is also a baseball player. His mom has proudly shared photos of Jalen’s athletic accomplishments, including playing on the Northeast Stripes USA Baseball team and being named MVP at the 2023 Ripken Tournament. Jalen has also gone on fun baseball outings with his famous uncle.
Jalen is, to no surprise, a big Yankees fan. Dorothy instilled a lifetime love of the pinstripes in her family — and during a rain delay in October 2022, Jalen excitedly visited his uncle’s display in the Yankee Museum.
“Jalen was proud when he saw [Derek’s] photo on the wall. Ever since he was a baby, it wasn’t toy stores or getting candy that excited him. He loved and still loves, the Yankees,” Sharlee wrote on Instagram.
She is very close with her brother
Derek and Sharlee are a tight sibling duo, sometimes speaking to each other five times a day, according to the New York Times.
The outlet also noted that when Derek was honored by his high school alma mater in 1996, Sharlee was there to give a speech. Derek visibly shed tears as Sharlee called her brother a hero and thanked him for his honesty and support. That speech is even framed over his desk at his Tampa home.
Sharlee has also given Derek sweet shoutouts on Instagram.
“Thank you for not killing me when we were younger and for teaching me things as we got older. And mostly, thanks for being a best friend to me and an amazing Uncle to Jalen,” she wrote in part alongside a slideshow of pics in honor of Derek’s 48th birthday in 2022.
She’s also attended a number of red-carpet events with her brother, including the Tribeca Film Festival screening of The Captain, the 2017 Derek Jeter Celebrity Invitational gala and the 2015 ESPYs.
She is the president of Derek Jeter’s non-profit foundation
Sharlee has been the president of the Turn 2 Foundation since 2010.
The Turn 2 Foundation was founded by her brother, Derek, and their father in 1996 to prevent substance abuse among teens and adults, promote healthy lifestyles, reward academic achievements, and provide leadership development in West Michigan, New York City, and Tampa, Florida. Sanderson is the vice chairman and Sharlee and Derek's mother, Dorothy, is the board treasurer. The non-profit has given over $30 million to fund its programs and financially support organizations.
Sharlee has been with the foundation since high school, joining as a volunteer in 1996. She was named to the Board of Directors at 18 and became the full-time program director in 2002. Two years later, she was promoted to director of development and then vice president in 2007. She earned the Jackie Robinson Foundation Chairman’s Award in 2015 and was recognized as one of Crain’s New York Business’ Notable Black Leaders and Executives in 2021.
In 2023, Sharlee was back in Kalamazoo to break ground on a new baseball and softball complex, to be renamed Derek Jeter Field, at her and her brother’s former high school.
“This project for us is an amazing way not just for the kids to have a great playing environment, but also for them to learn life lessons, which this is these very fields are where me and Derek learned many, many life lessons through our parents,” Sharlee told Fox 17.
In addition to her work as president of Turn 2, Sharlee has also been the VP of Strategy & Development of Jeter Ventures, Derek's business ventures portfolio, since 2018.
“Working alongside my brother to give back is a dream I never dreamt when I was growing up. It’s one that just happened. Thanks to his accomplishments, his dreams, and his goals,” she wrote on Instagram in 2023. “It’s truly funny how life works. And I am so blessed. I have a job that allows me to give back every single day. And I am so grateful."
She is an author and works in publishing
The Michigan native co-authored a book, The Stuff: Unlock Your Power to Overcome Challenges, Soar, and Succeed, with her friend, Dr. Davis Sampson.
Released in 2018, the book is a collection of hundreds of stories from ordinary people who have tackled difficult circumstances, and it features a foreword from Derek.
Though she initially kept her cancer battle private, Sharlee realized years later that talking about her illness could help not only herself heal mentally, but others as well.
"If they can do this, then I could too," Sharlee told mlive.com. "So, when I saw all these people who were willing to talk about what they had gone through in order to help others, then it was, 'Okay, let's talk about it.' Because if it's going to help or inspire someone else to get through their situation, then it's worth the discussion."
In addition to having a book of her own published, Sharlee oversees the adult and children’s arms of Jeter Publishing, an imprint of Simon & Schuster that has published a number of New York Times Best Sellers, including The Contract and Hit & Miss.
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