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Disney+ original film based on the true story of Antetokounmpo brothers: “Rise” to Premiere on ESPN this August



Disney+ original film based on the true story of remarkable Antetokounmpo basketball brothers; Antetokounmpo: a Nigerian surname which, according to the Yoruba people of West Africa, means “the crown has returned from overseas”

ESPN Africa announced that the Disney+ original film Rise, will have its linear premiere across the continent on ESPN (DStv218, Starsat 248) on Monday 1 August at 20:00. Directed by Akin Omotoso, Rise is based on the triumphant true-life story of the remarkable family that produced the first trio of brothers to become NBA champions in the history of the league – Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and former Los Angeles Laker Kostas Antetokounmpo.

In this powerful, uplifting film, viewers will witness how one family’s vision, determination and faith lifted them out of obscurity to launch the career of two-time MVP Giannis and his brothers, Thanasis and Kostas. Last season, Giannis and Thanasis helped bring the Bucks their first NBA championship ring in 50 years, while Kostas played for the previous season champs, the Lakers.

After immigrating to Greece from Nigeria, Vera and Charles Antetokounmpo 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 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. 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 lives of his entire family.

Newcomers Uche Agada and Ral Agada – also real-life brothers – portray young Giannis and Thanasis, with Jaden Osimuwa and Elijah Sholanke as their younger two brothers, Kostas and Alexandros (“Alex”), respectively. Dayo Okeniyi (“Emperor,” “Shades of Blue”) and Yetide Badaki (“American Gods,” “This Is Us”) play their parents, Charles and Veronica (“Vera”), with Manish Dayal as Giannis’ tenacious agent, Kevin Stefanides, and Taylor Nichols as John Hammond, general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Rise is directed by Akin Omotoso (“Vaya”) and written by Arash Amel (“A Private War”), with Bernie Goldmann (“300”) producing and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Douglas S. Jones as executive producers. Co-producers are Andreas Dimitriou and Michael Foutras.

Broadcast slots


Monday 1 August at 20:00

Repeat broadcasts:

Tuesday 2 August at 10:45 and 18:00

Monday 8 August at 20:00

Tuesday 9 August 10:45 and 18:00

How to tune in:

ESPN: DStv 218, Starsat 248
All times are stated in CAT / SAST.
Schedule subject to change
For updates regarding the world of American sports, fans can connect to @ESPNAfrica on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Walt Disney Company.

For any queries, kindly contact:
Jenny Griesel
Jenny Griesel Communications
Tel 083 406 3444 / [email protected]

About The Walt Disney Company EMEA:
The Walt Disney Company has been in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for over 80 years and employs thousands across the region. Between Disneyland Paris and its other iconic brands, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, 20th Century Studios and ESPN, The Walt Disney Company EMEA entertains, informs and inspires millions of consumers in more than 130 countries through the power of unparalleled storytelling. Disney+, the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, is currently available in 17 markets across Europe.

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