Giannis Antetokounmpo has won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award in each of the past two seasons. That could possibly be movie material if screenwriters and producers were interested. A clip of LeBron James saying he was “pissed off” to finish second to Antetokounmpo this season would make an entertaining ending.
(The postponing and restart of the NBA season and restarting in the Orlando bubble due to COVID-19, along with the Milwaukee Bucks’ protesting a playoff game for the Jacob Blake shooting would also have to be included in that story.)
Disney is more interested in the uplifting story leading up to Antetokounmpo becoming an NBA star, however. The studio is developing Greek Freak, a film for Disney+ based on Antetokounmpo’s early years and his family’s journey from Nigeria to living as undocumented immigrants in Greece.
According to Antetokounmpo himself, the movie will focus on him and his older brother, Thanasis (who also currently plays for the Bucks). On Twitter, he had some fun with the announcement and open casting call for actors to play the teenage versions of him and his brother.
— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) October 28, 2020
Apparently, younger brother Kostas, who currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, has a lesser role in the story. Perhaps he was too young in the time period the story will cover, when Giannis and Thanasis were hawking items in the streets to help the family before eventually playing professional basketball.
And there are two other Antetokounmpo boys! The oldest brother, Francis, played professional soccer, while the youngest, Alex, plays basketball in Greece.
Arash Amel will write the screenplay for Greek Freak. His credits include Grace of Monaco (2014) and A Private War (2018), along with the upcoming remake of 1984’s Starman.
The film will be directed by Akin Omotoso, whose 2016 film Vaya (now available on Netflix) has some thematic similarities to what Disney+ reportedly has in mind for the Antetokounmpo story. That film focused on three South African youth struggling to make a better life for themselves in Johannesburg. Omotoso also directed a documentary for NBA Africa, following the league’s first exhibition game on the continent in 2015.
According to Deadline, production on Greek Freak will begin in 2021 in Greece and assorted locations in the U.S.