Every underdog story needs a character who pushes the limits of the protagonist. The said character sees the potential in the underdog and knows how far they can go. In Disney+’s ‘Rise’, Giannis Adetokunbo’s underdog finds a motivator in coach Takis Zivas. The coach becomes an essential part of the story as he not only takes Giannis and Thanasis under his wing but also becomes another parent figure in their life. He understands the problems at their home and tries to find ways to let them play basketball.
Takis Zivas also becomes essential in the way the brothers hone their skills. While Thanasis gets his bearings pretty soon, it takes time for Giannis to settle down and find his strengths in the game. It is this approach of the coach that paves the path for Gianni’s success. With the immense impact that the coach had on the lives of the Antetokounmpo brothers, we wonder if he was a real person. Here’s what you should know about Coach Takis Zivas.
Is Rise’s Coach Takis a Real-Life Basketball Coach?
Yes, Coach Takis Zivas is a real person in ‘Rise’. As portrayed in the film, he was the head coach of the Filathlitikos Basketball Club. When he first saw the Adetokunbo brothers, he recognized their untapped potential. The undocumented status of the boys would have been a cause for trouble, but the coach knew that he had to find a way to commit them to the game. The work was especially needed for Giannis, who had the talent but needed to refine his skills.
Takis’ decision to keep the Adetokunbo brothers around wasn’t welcomed very well by some. Around that time, the anti-immigrant sentiment was gaining force. Moreover, the team was mostly white, which also invited some racist and classist bullying. Takis, however, kept his intention strong to train the boys, even though he received opposition from others.
Giannis credits Takis for helping him develop his game. The small things that the coach ingrained in his behavior on the court still shape the way Giannis performs in the NBA. The coach was especially stubborn during the times when Giannis lost faith in himself and almost quit a couple of times. In a similar vein, Takis took a very individualistic approach with the other brothers as well, finding their game through their personality, recognizing their weak and strong points, and then allowing their intuition to do its job. It is this developed instinct that still helps them in their game.
Where is Coach Takis Zivas Now?
Even though four of his students have turned out to be world-class basketball players, Coach Takis Zivas’ name is still under the cover of obscurity. Not much is known about him. He retired from the position of the head coach of the Filathlitikos Basketball Club around 2016. Though his whereabouts are unknown, there is one thing everyone would agree on. It is that no matter where he is, Takis Zivas is undoubtedly polishing another player, bringing out the talent in them just as he refined the talent of the Adetokunbo brothers.
Read More: Is Disney+’s Rise Based on a True Story?