But playing in a haze of cigarette smoke is only part of the unique charms of the Greek professional basketball league. To describe the atmosphere as raucous might be understating the passion and intensity of the Greek fans.

After a loss on their home court against a rival team, the Thessaloniki players were approaching the tunnel when their rooters showered them with saliva.

“I never in my life thought I’d be spit on by my own fans,” Panagiotakopoulos said. “That was an experience! The Greeks are passionate people; they love you when you’re doing great and they hate you when you’re not, but they forgive you the next day. The fans are crazy, but that’s what makes it fun.”

In the end, he said he made a lot of friends and it was a good financial deal.

“I was making really good money, and they paid for my apartment and my car and got some meals,” he said. “I made enough so that I could buy a house after I came home in December 2009.”

And now he has his own advisory practice, and he feels it’s on solid footing, though challenges remain. “We’ve had amazing growth; we’ve grown about 40% from what I brought over from Pathlight,” Panagiotakopoulos said. “But I’m looking at how am I going to grow another 40% from here, and where is the new pipeline of clients going to come from?”

He describes himself as one who thrives on networking, which has been difficult to do during the coronavirus crisis. Still, he feels confident his approach to financial planning is key to his firm's continued success.

“I think we’re well-positioned to keep honing our service model and grow this thing,” he said.

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