‘Rise’ Tells the True Story of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Journey to the NBA

As the Milwaukee Bucks continue their journey to another NBA Finals, Disney+ has released the first trailer for Rise. Based on the true story of the NBA champion and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers, the film tells the tale of an immigrant family facing deportation and how their children sharpened their basketball talents to be drafted in the NBA to become world class athletes.

Sports in film have proven to have more depth and nuance to their stories than the actual competition itself. The underdog story celebrates the tenacity of an unlikely team beating their championship rivals or the little guy facing great odds. While those stories and the sports angle make for compelling drama, the inspirational stories like the one in Rise are what celebrate the human spirit. When it comes down to it, the Antetokounmpos’ story of struggle and tenacity is one the deserves to be told.

Here’s the official plot synopsis for Rise:

Audiences have never seen a story like that of the Antetokounmpos. After emigrating from Nigeria to Greece, Charles and Vera Antetokounmpo (Dayo Okeniyi and Yetide Badaki, respectively) struggled to survive and provide for their five children, while living under the daily threat of deportation. With their oldest son still in Nigeria with relatives, the couple were desperate to obtain Greek citizenship but found themselves undermined by a system that blocked them at every turn. When they weren’t selling items to tourists on the streets of Athens with the rest of the family, the brothers — Giannis (Uche Agada) and Thanasis (Ral Agada) — would play basketball with a local youth team. Latecomers to the sport, they discovered their great abilities on the basketball court and worked hard to become world class athletes, along with brother, Kostas (Jaden Osimuwa). With the help of an agent, Giannis entered the NBA Draft in 2013 in a long shot prospect that would change not only his life but the life of his entire family. And last season, Giannis and Thanasis helped bring the Milwaukee Bucks their first championship ring in 50 years, while Kostas played for the previous season champs, the Los Angeles Lakers

Rise stars Dayo Okeniyi, Yetide Badaki, Manish Dayal, Taylor Nichols, and introduces Ral Agada and Uche Agada. The film is directed by Akin Omotoso (Vaya), written by Arash Amel (A Private War), and produced by Bernie Goldmann (300). Giannis Antetokounmpo and Douglas S. Jones served as the executive producers.

Rise is scheduled to launch exclusively on Disney+ on June 24, 2022.

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