Basketball fans have a new reason to cheer. Disney has just announced that we can expect the true story of a one-of-a-kind family that hailed the first trio of brothers to become NBA champions to air on Disney+ in 2022.
Rise will tell the story of these brothers, Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kostas Antetokounmpo of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The film, directed by Akin Omotoso (Vaya), will follow the story of this determined Nigerian and Greek family as the athletic brothers are raised out of anonymity and thrown into the world of professional basketball.
Parents Vera and Charles Antetokounmpo emigrated to Greece from Nigeria and fought hard to support their five children while worrying every day about deportation from a broken citizenship system with many dead ends.
To make ends meet, the family sells gifts to tourists in the city of Athens, but when they were able to, the boys head to the courts to blow off some steam and play basketball. They quickly discover that although they are newcomers to the sport, they have a gifted ability right off the bat.
Through a helpful agent, Giannis is able to enter the 2013 NBA draft, a choice that will change his family’s future forever. Giannis, a two-time MVP winner, and Thanasis helped win the Bucks their first championship ring in 50 years last season, while Kostas continues to play for previous champions, the Lakers.
I am thrilled and honored that Disney+ is bringing my family’s story to people all over the world. My hope is that it will inspire those in similar circumstances to keep the faith, stay true to their goals and not to give up on striving for a better life.
~ Giannis Antetokounmpo
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New to the screen, real-life brothers Uche Agada and Ral Agada will portray the young versions of Giannis and Thanasis, while Jaden Osimuwa will play Kostas, and Elijah Shomanke will portray the trio’s other brother, Alex.
The boy’s parents, Charles and Vera, will be played by Dayo Okeniyi (Emperor, Shades of Blue) and Yetide Badaki (American Gods, This is Us).
Assisting in telling this story of glory will be Manish Dayal as Giannis’ agent, Kevin, and Taylor Nichols as general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, John Hammond. Additional cast will include Maximiliano Hernandez, Eddie Cahill, Pilar Holland, and McColm Kona Cephas Jr.