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Brothers onscreen and off: ‘Rise’ stars talk humble beginnings of Greek basketball stars

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(L-R): Ral Agada as Thanasis and Uche Agada as Giannis in Disney’s live-action RISE, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In the new film Rise, streaming exclusively on Disney+, brothers and newcomers Uche and Ral Agada play Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo in the true story about the inspirational family that changed the world of professional basketball.

Uche knew the basics – that the Antetokounmpos immigrated from Nigeria to Greece and that Giannis eventually found success in the NBA draft – but there was still a lot he had to learn about the family.

“I knew that they had humble beginnings. I didn’t understand the extent of how hard it was, how difficult it was to survive,” Uche told ABC Audio.

Ral echoed his brother’s sentiment. “We went where they grew up and I saw that they lived in a one-bedroom apartment with four 6-foot-plus boys,” he said. “It just made me extremely grateful for what I have.”

There was much for them to be grateful for, especially the opportunity for the brothers to act alongside each other, telling a story about brotherhood and family.

“These guys, they all root for each other, they are happy for each other and all push each other. And I think it’s the same for Ral and I,” Uche said.

He added, “We both want to see each other improve and get better. I definitely think that’s something that we all have in common.”

Rise had its Greek premiere this week, which was held at the Sepolia Basketball Court in Athens. The Antetokounmpo family and the Agada brothers were all in attendance.

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