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The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout


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Sports Agent Alex Saratsis Visits LFHS with a Message for Success

Photo courtesy of Noel Demetrio.

NBA agent Alex Saratsis came to speak to the Greek and Finance club last Tuesday. Saratsis is the agent for numerous well-known players, including Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo (“The Greek Freak”) and Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo. 

Saratsis has been Antetokounmpo’s agent for the past eleven years, one of those years being the NBA championship in 2021, an incredibly special moment for both Antetokounmpo and Saratsis.

“They won, they ran off the court. I was in the back, he came out with his goggles, his cigar, and the championship….He gave me a hug and said, thank you for believing in me,” said Saratsis.

Giannis Antetokounmpo. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons.

Saratsis was born in Athens but moved to Mexico when he was seven. He completed high school in Tokyo and attended Northwestern to further his education. By the time Saratsis got to college, he spoke four languages fluently. Saratsis credits a large part of his success to growing up the way he did: being raised Greek, going to different countries, and learning multiple languages. 

“It really prepared me to do the job that I do now because every client is different, every business is different, and every country is different. I don’t do business in Spain the way I do it in Germany. I don’t do business in Italy the way I do it in Greece,” said Saratis.

For Saratsis, being a sports agent was simply never a part of his plan. Growing up, he didn’t even know the job existed. He began searching for jobs around the time 9/11 occurred but struggled to find work. He eventually landed a spot as a sports agent, which he initially thought would be a temporary job.

“I failed in more ways than you can imagine in the first eleven years,” said Saratsis.  

While failures might seem like setbacks, Saratsis says failure is how you really learn and grow.

 Kids are told all the time, ‘You need failure to succeed.’ But what does that even mean? His failures prepared him for what was to come, ultimately allowing him to succeed. 

“The best way I can put it is, in life, you work hard and try to prepare so you can get a lucky break,” said Saratsis. “At that time I had so many failures and so many things and worked for so long, that when Giannis came into my life I was ready”. 

It’s only when you let mistakes define you, and you don’t grow from them, is when you have truly failed. Embrace your mistakes and ‘failures’, that’s how you become who you truly are.

Saratsis during his speech. Courtesy of Noel Demetrio.

Saratsis colleague, in his first year as an agent, signed David West and Josh Howards as the 18th and 29th overall pick in the draft. The next year, he signed Chris Paul. He had instant success, however, he was not prepared for it.

“He lost all of those clients because he didn’t know how to manage them… I remember looking up to him like, ‘Man that’s so amazing how do I do that?’ But he’s out of the business and I’m not because I learned from my failures. I learned from other people’s failures,” said Saratsis.

Saratsis listened and learned. In any job or industry, it is important to listen and learn. It is important to not rush to speak, or else you will lose lessons to be learned. 

Saratsis worked beyond hard in his eleven years of ‘failure’, and continues to work hard through his success. In a competitive world where opportunity is fleeting –  where a door can close quicker than it opens – Saratsis expresses the importance of taking advantage of every possible opportunity. 

 “I kept my eyes and ears open, I took every business meeting that I possibly could. I took every meeting I could. I networked with as many people as I could. Slowly everything started to fall into place,” said Saratsis. “Whenever you have an opportunity, whenever there’s a door open for you, you walk right through it, and you prepare, so when you are lucky, you are ready for it.”

Saratsis constantly puts himself in uncomfortable situations and forces himself to do things that push him out of his comfort zone. Saratsis thinks anyone who wants to be successful should also be putting themselves in uncomfortable and challenging situations. 

“When you’re uncomfortable that’s when you really begin to figure out who you are and learn skills that you didn’t think you had,” said Saratsis. 

Saratsis to Lake Forest

Junior Noel Demetrio’s Greek grandmother was a refugee who escaped poverty and civil war in Greece.  She escaped poverty and a civil war in Greece. Now, Demetrio is the founder of the Hellenic Club.

“I also witnessed the refugee crisis while in Greece in 2015, so this is an issue dear to my heart,” said Demetrio. 

Demetrio thought Giannis to be a dream guest speaker. His Greek background, success in the NBA, and his knowledge of modern-day struggles for immigrants and refugees are all matters that Demetrio values. 

Even though Giannis was unavailable, Demetrio also asked Saratsis to speak at Lake Forest, not only because he represents multiple NBA superstars, but also because of his Greek ethnicity and unique immigration story. 

“I hope attendees left being okay to take risks. We have to stop being afraid to make mistakes because that’s where all the learning happens,” said Demetrio.

Demetrio and Halkias (right) with Saratsis.

Demetrio organized the event with Saratsis and was persistent in her planning. Overall, this event would not have been a possibility without Demetrio. 

I love seeing students taking initiative like that. We want students to make the most of the club and shape it however they like. I hope we can do something like that again in the near future” said Greek Club co-adviser Mr. William Tsakalios.

The Hellenic club had been looking forward to this guest speaker for quite some time, and Saratsis was worth the wait being such an articulate and engaging speaker. Saratsis’ message was a staple, yet interesting lesson. 

He captivated the audience with such timeless advice that, in my opinion, everyone needs to hear from time to time… I really appreciated how open Alex was about his personal and professional experiences; he answered a ton of really great questions from the audience,” said Greek Club co-adviser Mrs. Melissa Halkias. 

Work hard, learn from your mistakes, put yourself in uncomfortable positions, take advantage of every opportunity, and listen to what people have to say. These lessons may seem cliche, but they are cliche for a reason, and Saratsis’ story is anything but ordinary. There is no step-by-step to follow for guaranteed success, but there most definitely are common themes. Life Lessons never change. 

“The point is, no one can tell you what your path should look like; it’s unique to everyone,” said Tsakalios. 

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Emily Witte, Staff Writer
Emily Witte is a junior at Lake Forest High School and a first year writer for The Forest Scout.  Emily runs cross country in the fall, track in the spring, and in the summers is on a waterski team in Wisconsin. She is always looking for good movie or show recommendations, and new restaurants to try!  
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