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Rise: Giannis Antetokounmpo Watches His Biopic for the First Time

antetokounmpo movie disney
Thanassis, Veronica, and Giannis Antetokounmpo at the screening of the Disney movie about their lives. Credit: Giannis Antetokounmpo/Twitter

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family recently caught an early cut of the Disney movie about the improbable life of the Greek-Nigerian basketball star that is set to be released later this year.

The athlete, who plays for the NBA champion team Milwaukee Bucks, posted a picture with his mother, Veronica, and his brother, Thanasis, in front of the Disney Studios in Los Angeles on his Twitter account Tuesday.

The movie, which was originally said to be entitled “The Greek Freak” after Antetokounmpo’s nickname, will be called “Rise” and will be available on the Disney+ streaming platform.

Antetokounmpo movie tells incredible story of “Greek Freak”

The film, which was partially filmed in Greece, tells the incredible story of the Antetokounmpo family’s struggle as illegal immigrants in Greece and the incredible talent and drive that enabled the Antetokounmpo brothers to reach the NBA.

Both Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo play for the Bucks, while their brother Kostas is on the Los Angeles Lakers. Alex, the youngest Antetokounmpo, plays in the minor league of the NBA.

Filming for the upcoming movie based on the lives of the Antetokounmpo family took place throughout the Greek capital last spring.

In May, production for the film took over Monastiraki Square, one of the busiest squares of Athens, to get usable shots of the Greek Freak’s hometown.

Many shops, restaurants and cafes had to shut their doors for the day as customers were not able to access them. The area around Monastiraki was secured by barriers to make sure that no one could make their way onto the film set.

Giannis Antetokounmpo overcame hardships to reach NBA

Giannis in particular has come to represent Greece in the US. Born of undocumented immigrant parents from Nigeria, the NBA star became a Greek citizen in 2013.

His parents, as illegal immigrants, could not easily find work, so Giannis and his older brother, Thanasis, helped the family finances by hawking watches, handbags and sunglasses in the streets.

In 2007, Antetokounmpo started playing basketball, and in 2011 he joined his local team Filathlitikos. After a brief stint in Spain he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks.

In 2013, Antetokounmpo stood between his parents on the court inside Bradley Center and gazed up at the ceiling, where the retired jerseys for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson hung in the rafters.

“Maybe in 15 years, 20 years,” the young man said, “maybe my name is up there next to Kareem, Oscar Robertson. I hope I’m there.”

He had just been drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2013 NBA draft. Over the summer of 2021, with more than 80,000 people crammed in and around Fiserv Forum, Antetokounmpo capped off a spectacular NBA Finals with a legendary performance to do something that, until then, only Abdul-Jabbar and Robertson had ever done: lead the Bucks to an NBA title.

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