Still from "Giannis & Identity"

Giannis Talks About His Childhood, Confronting Racism, in New Documentary

A short film about Giannis Antetokounmpo, made by the Bleacher Report, will be debuting tonight.

Sports alert! Bucks MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is now a star both on and off the court. 

Tonight, The Arena on TNT is releasing a short documentary, Giannis & Identity, made by Bleacher Report. In the film, Giannis talks about his childhood in Athens, and how it felt to grow up Black, and undocumented, in a predominately white country that has historically grappled with xenophobia.

Thannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks forward and Giannis’ brother, also appears in the film. “You can’t work if you’re an immigrant,” Thannis says, “But my dad really wanted us to stay here, live here, because he said the culture, the Greek culture, and the Greek education system would be great for us.”

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Both brothers grew up aware that their parents could be deported at any moment, and that they would have no idea how to reconnect with them if that happened. Both brothers also say that part of the reason they devoted so much time and energy to basketball early on was that they understood that it could offer their family a path to citizenship.

“Basketball took me to a different place,” Giannis says, adding: “This is not just for me.”

The film airs tonight  at 7 p.m. CST on TNT, and is part of a five-part series. In addition to Giannis, it features Cari Champion, NBA icon Dwyane Wade, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and NBA Champion Draymond Green. It also includes contributions from sports journalist Jemele Hill, rapper and activist Killer Mike and filmmaker, Lesley Chilcott.

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.