Paul Savramis has seen his work with aspiring young athletes commended by the President of the United States and the Governor of New York. But for Paul Savramis, the biggest achievement of all has come with seeing the lives his programs have touched. For more than fifteen years, the program Savramis founded, Rising Stars, has helped young men and women develop the skills they need for tomorrow by engaging in sports activities today.
With a master’s degree in physical education, Paul Savramis knows the ability athletics have to educate children on teamwork, leadership, perseverance, and more. As a leader of many clinical, Savramis has been able to participate in clinics with such greats as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, among many others. In fact, the editor of Basketball Digest was so impressed with Paul Savramis’ work with clinicals that he dubbed him “America’s number one clinician.”
Over the years, Paul Savramis has had many achievements as the founder of two organizations that have helped shape the future of youth through athletics. But Paul Savramis reports that an overarching moment was the opportunity to meet one of basketball’s legends, NBA championship player Larry Bird.
According to Paul Savramis, Bird’s visit was a result of Savramis’ work with Converse. At that time, Paul Savramis was one of Converse’s top clinicians. Throughout the year, Paul Savramis’ clinics helped promote Converse, and they were among the most respected in the country. Because of the success of Savramis’ clinics, Converse’s president at the time, Al Harden, had taken notice of him. Converse was the biggest name in basketball and Mr. Harden saw Savramis as the perfect ambassador to get their name spread. It was through that relationship that Paul Savramis was able to realize a dream he had since he began dribbling a basketball—having Larry Bird make an appearance at one of his camps.
At the time, Paul Savramis was running Eastern Invitational Summer Camps, an organization he founded and headed from 1980 to 1990. Eastern Invitational was part of a highly respected basketball camp network that spanned the globe. During his time as a director of Eastern Invitational, Paul Savramis created after-school programs, tournaments, and clinics that helped many youth learn the important basketball skills they needed to improve. Some participants have gone on to success in professional athletics and many more on to play in college.
In the summer of his MVP year, Larry Bird visited Paul Savramis’ basketball camp at the request of Converse president Harden. This was all the more notable, as Larry Bird did not normally do personal appearances. To appear at a camp following a MVP season and being considered the top name in basketball was unheard of.
Bird was a twelve-time NBA All Star who won three NBA championships during his time with the Boston Celtics. At the camp he and Savramis ran drills and Bird actually played against the players. One of those players was young Sean Miller, a Rising Stars Whiz Kid that had done clinics with Savramis and commercials with Converse.
That day made a lasting impression on the children participating in Paul Savramis’ camp. It also planted the seeds of what was to become a yearly program dedicated to making that impression on young lives.
Bird’s visit was only the beginning. During his time as director of Eastern Invitational, Paul Savramis also welcomed Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, and Charles Barkley, with each visit making a huge impact on the impressionable youths participating in the program. This was just one of the many things that helped make Paul Savramis’ one of the best summer basketball programs in the world.
Paul Savramis, who founded Eastern Invitational as a part-time endeavor while obtaining his master’s degree, sold the program in 1990. At the time of the sale Savramis was considered one of Americas top clinicians and a pioneer of instructional basketball. He then founded Rising Stars with the goal in mind of having a year-round program that helped children the way Eastern Invitational had seasonally. Today, the benefits of Paul Savramis’ work with these programs endures. Following the sale of the camp Savramis went on to start three other camps including the Future Stars camps in Iowa and Virginia. Many students’ lives have been touched and thousands have seen and benefited from the message that “Anything Is Possible”.
But Paul Savramis still remembers the difference meeting a hero like Larry Bird can make in a young – or older – life and in taking those words to heart.
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