Imagine sharing the same sneakers as your brother. Just so you both had a chance to play.
Picture yourself sleeping on the floor of the gym. Holding your basketball like a pillow. All so you wouldn’t miss a moment of action.
Now realize the dream of an NBA champion.
Or more like three of them.
Just weeks after Netflix gave us Adam Sandler’s latest scouting ‘Hustle‘, Disney + take hoops even higher with the ‘Rise’ of the Antetokounmpo’s.
Right in time for the NBA Draft that the life story here revolves around.
The true story of Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas. Three young Nigerian-Greek men, who made it to the world’s biggest basketball league and now have one ring each to complete this circle of life on court.
Akin Omotoso (who once appeared in the Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou movie ‘Blood Diamond’) directs this Disney biographical basketball drama looking for its own ‘Glory Road’. And from soundtracks that score, blending African music and hip-hop. To referencing movies like ‘Do The Right Thing’, deck-chair sitting in-front of a red wall. The director’s dynamics are as diverse as the perspectives he gives us of the courts themselves that the young Antetokounmpo’s play on. In all the colours of its canvas.
Newcomers Uche Agada, Ral Agada, and Jaden Osimuwa as Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas respectively are all about to make their mark on the acting world, like the three brothers have done on the basketball one. Especially the undeniable Uche, who shows great grace and grit as a young skinny kid who would one day become the Greek Freak we see today. Standing at the court’s coliseum like a God.
Yet, if it wasn’t for Antetokounmpo’s proud parents, Charles and Veronica (‘Vera’) fleeing to Greece to forge a better life for their sons, they wouldn’t be here. And ‘Rise’ recognizes that in beautiful backstory featuring ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Terminator: Genisys’ star Dayo Okeniyi and ‘American Gods’ one Yetide Badaki, in revered roles that break new ground.
Think of this parentage akin to Will Smith’s ‘King Richard’ movie about the young ascent of Venus and Serena Williams. That one took the Oscar throne before all the controversy. ‘Rise’ will award even more inspiration, without a moment of insolence.
Heart-warming and genuine. That’s just the true nature of positive influence.
And the one from ‘Rise’ like the banner moments of these brothers will never come down.