Youth Leader and SLAA Founder James Pristouris Charts the Course
Brooklyn Native James Pristouris is an athletic coach who is committed to youth development through the emphasis of good sportsmanship and teamwork. But he is more than that. He is an athletic leader, organizing Greek-American and Greek youth to play basketball and soccer with each other, and teaming them up with elite coaches and professional athletes from the Greek National Team and Euro 2004.
So how does he do it? A graduate of Quinnipiac University with a Master in Business Administration, James has served as the Director of Athletics at the high school level, and as youth director for his local parish for over 15 years. He is also the Founder and CEO of the Super League Athletic Academy (SLAA) founded in 2013, based out of New York. His unwavering dedication and passion for fostering community engagement among Greek youth has earned him recognition as the Brooklyn Nets Jr. NBA Coach of the year in 2020, a program that honors youth basketball coaches who exhibit leadership and integrity to make a positive impact that has a lifelong effect on youth, both on and off the court. James has also been featured in greekamerica.org’s forty under 40 class of 2022.
A big part of SLAA’s mission is hosting basketball camps with world-renowned, professional Greek athletes in both basketball and soccer. These are big players in the arena, and include NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his brother Thanasis, and Euro 2004 Champions Aggelos Basinas, Giorgos Karagounis, and Giourkas Seitaridis. All of whom expressed their greatest joy to be part of the SLAA mission. They know what a great experience it is to be able to give back to the children who look up to them as role models and to be a great force in shaping their love of sports and team spirit. These are skills they will take off the court and off the field to apply a sense of teamwork to their daily lives.
SLAA is more than just an athletic endeavor. It’s an educational one. SLAA brings boys and girls, ages 13-17, to Greece for an annual tour where they have the opportunity to visit the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, and other historic landmarks that include an ancient Olympic Stadium, as well as cultural experiences. The tour was initiated in 2017 in Athens with a team of eleven players. In just two years, it has grown into a team of thirty players that includes two teams for boys and girls. This trip is part of SLAA’s mission for Greek American youth to engage in athletics and compete with Greek youth at the Hellenic American Basketball Tournament in collaboration with the PAO BC Academy, while, at the same time, immersing themselves in cultural and educational activities. Players have the opportunity to compete against the club team of NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Antetokounmpos Court.
Another great incentive offered by SLAA is their scholarship program, which was established in 2020 and offers $5000 for youth that demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics, athletics, community service, and a high level of sportsmanship. There are two scholarships offered–an all-expense paid tour of Greece or a college scholarship. It’s all in the name of the game, where being a winner is determined by a winning team. The SLAA Leadership Council, which selects the winners, features prominent Greek and Greek American figures in sports. Among them are Euro 2004 Champion Aggelos Basinas, Olympic Gold Medalist Katerina Stefanidi, NBA & League Head Coach George Galanopoulos, and FIBA Agent Tim Lotsos.
In 2021, SLAA teamed up with Texas Legends coach and Leadership Council Member George Galanopoulos, and the Uganda National Basketball Team to organize a fundraiser to help the Uganda team. The fundraiser helped purchase twenty FIBA (International Basketball Federation) basketballs so they could qualify for Africa’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Under James’ leadership SLAA extends their charitable arm to other countries that need support. His commitment to the organization he founded is a true testament to the core values of SLAA’s mission of philanthropy, the pursuit of excellence, philotimo, innovation, and education. Philotmo is a Greek word that defines true philanthropy. Anyone can be a philanthropist, but not everyone can have philotimo. It’s an honest, unassuming expression of gratitude and love for humanity. James Psistouris is the philotimo behind SLAA, which has been officially recognized by GuideStar in 2021 with a Platinum Seal of Transparency.
With his passion for sports and youth development, James provides the resources and activities for youth to grow, connect, and stay involved. Summer camp is just around the corner, and what better way to engage children in activity that will give them an experience of a lifetime – one that will foster the bonds of team spirit, enable lifelong friendships that begin here and travel abroad, and will teach them the healthy value of great sportsmanship? What they gain, through hands-on education and active athletic engagement are skills they will take with them for life as far as they want.
For summer athletic camp info, their registration page is:https://www.slaanyc.com/camps-and-clinics
Programs are also available for children as young as 3 years old. And for more information about how SLAA, and how it can benefit your children and teens, you can visit slaanyc.com