On the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast, Michael Scotto welcomed Akin Omotoso, the director of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s film, “Greek Freak.” Scotto and Omotoso discuss how the project came to be, what Antetokounmpo’s role will be, how he will balance playing in the NBA and working on the film, his future with the Bucks, and more. Listen to the podcast above or check out some snippets of the conversation in a transcribed version below.
1:40 How did the Greek Freak project come to be?
5:50 What should viewers expect from the project?
Omotoso: His story is so inspirational. It’s a family story. Viewers can look forward to a very inspirational story. You get a chance to get behind the scenes. It’s a really emotional story. I was really moved. When I first read the script, I cried.
6:55 What part of Antetokounmpo’s story was most touching emotionally?
9:10 Who are you thinking of casting to play the role of Giannis?
11:35 What did you learn about Antetokounmpo’s life while working on this project?
Omotoso: What I learned is that he has a great deal of integrity, and you realize where that comes from when you start going deeper than the box scores with that. He holds himself to a standard that inspires.
13:30 How involved will Giannis be as an executive producer?
15:00 How will you and Giannis balance his work schedule for the project while he plays in the NBA?
Omotoso: It is a challenge, but we’re all confident that we’ll make it work. It’s a priority in terms of telling the story, but it’s also a priority for all of us that he’s successful on the court. We all know what the Bucks are trying to do, and we’re totally supportive of that. I think, like everything, you find the balance. We’re looking forward to being part of that journey and being as available as we all can be when we can be and still make it work. It’s exciting.
17:15 How will COVID affect the production of “Greek Freak” as you look towards shooting the project in 2021?
19:30 Now that Giannis signed a contract extension, how much of a difference does that make for him to focus on this project?
20:45 Reactions to Giannis signing his extension with the Bucks
Omotoso: I think it’s great for the NBA. I think that it will get people to come to Milwaukee. For me, he’s stayed true to himself. He’s stayed true to his character. He fully understands what he wants to do. I like the idea of parity in the league. You don’t want everybody loaded up on one team. It makes for a very interesting season.
Scotto: In talking with a lot of executives, they were thrilled. I’ve never seen, in my experience as a reporter, I’ve never experienced as much kind of unified support for another team keeping a star given the parity. As you mentioned, speaking to his character, one of the things he’s always been about is loyalty. What better way to show that than with this extension? He’s a guy that never struck me as someone who would team up with other stars. I think he believes in himself and the guys he has around him.
Omotoso: I think the idea of guys like Tim Duncan or Dirk Nowitzki. I think Giannis recognizes that. In this day and age, things are quite quick, and everybody wants things fast. There’s something quite old fashioned about we’ll build it here, we’ve made steps, and we can continue to build. This week was filled with positive vibes. It was so refreshing because it’s a great take to say, let’s stay and build it here. It’s a marathon.
Scotto: Similar to when LeBron James won in Cleveland, I think if Giannis was able to give the Milwaukee Bucks a championship and carry them to one, it would have so much significance.
24:25 NBA topics Omotoso is looking forward to discussing with Giannis on set
27:35 Other notes on the project
29:25 General NBA talk, including the Hawks, Lakers, 76ers, Nets, and more
You can follow Michael Scotto on Twitter: @MikeAScotto