It’s a name basketball fans know, even if they can’t pronounce it. Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo went from being the son of a Nigerian immigrant to Greece unable to obtain official Greek citizenship, to making NBA history as one of only three players to win back-to-back MVP’s before the age of 26. An honor shared only by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lebron James.
And now Disney Plus has dropped its first trailer for their biographical film about the incredible true life story of Antetokounmpo and his brothers Athanasios, Kostantinos, and Alexandros, all of whom rose from playing street ball in the playgrounds of Athens to professional basketball in the NBA and throughout European pro leagues.
Giannis and Thanasis won a championship for the MIlwaukee Bucks last season, joining brother Kostas, who played for the previous year’s championship Los Angeles Lakers, in creating history as the first trio of champion brothers in the NBA.
The film stars newcomer Uche Agada, who was working at a Wawa when he saw a casting call on Antetokounmpo’s Instagram looking for a fresh face to play him in Walt Disney’s biopic about his family. Agada’s real-life brother, Ral, plays Thanasis.
The film is directed by Akin Omotoso, who scored with the Ghost and the House of Truth in his native Nigeria, and who also has a project in development with Netflix. He also has a documentary series in the works following basketball players in Africa. It was written by Arash Amel, who is best known for A Private War and is currently working on a screenplay for the upcoming WarGames remake.
Rise drops on Disney Plus on June 24th.