Pro sports agent George Andrews blazed path for Greek Americans

George Andrews (in suit and tie) watches his client Magic Johnson celebrate the Los Angeles Lakers’ 1981 NBA title

[CHICAGO, IL, USA] The Greek American community is mourning the loss of one of its greatest sports trailblazers, George James Andrews (1949-2024). A native of Elmhurst, IL who graduated York High School and the University of Illinois, Andrews passed away last week. During the past few years, he had been serving on the board of the National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament (NHIBT) and had become an instrumental contributor.
     Andrews was the first and most prominent Greek American professional sports player agent. In his heyday (late 70’s through mid-90’s), he boasted a blue-chip client roster that rivaled any agent in sports. Two of his most widely-known clients were NBA Hall of Fame players Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Isiah Thomas. Andrews was with Magic, a Lakers great, when the team won its first NBA championship under Magic, with Magic being awarded Finals MVP honors.
     Among Andrews’ non-basketball clients was Evelyn Ashford, the top female track star in the world during the time she was represented by Andrews.
     Other notables represented by Andrews are NBA greats Reggie Theus, Mark Aguirre, and Rolando Blackman, and standouts Jim Brewer, Jerry Sichting, Derek Harper, and Nick Weatherspoon. Andrews, Harper, and Weatherspoon are all fellow University of Illinois at Champaign alumni. Andrews, who friends described as a basketball junkie who was always in the gym, served as equipment manager for Illini men’s basketball. He later earned a JD at Illinois in addition to his undergrad.
     Later in his career, Andrews switched sides to join the front office of the Memphis Grizzlies, then an expansion NBA franchise. Andrews helped ownership get started on firm footing.
     One of his Greek associates, Michigan State University head basketball coach and later top team broadcaster Gus Ganakas, became a mentor to Andrews and opened doors in the Spartans family. Andrews would later gain introduction to young Earvin Johnson, a budding MSU superstar about to win an NCAA championship. Johnson became one of his first clients. Another Greek hoops connection is Ganakas’ son Gary Ganakas, who played in and later was inducted into the NHIBT Hall of Fame.
     The Andrews wake is set for Monday from 4 to 8 pm at Westchester Conboy Funeral Home in Illinois. The funeral is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 am, beginning at Holy Apostles Church with internment at Elmwood Cemetery. For more details, visit his Chicago Sun-Times obituary