Westport Library to Screen Documentary on NBA Superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, Host Director Kristen Lappas and Former NBA Star Jay Williams for a Follow-up Conversation

Fri, Feb 23, 2024
EJ Crawford

Giannis Antetokounmpo went from the streets of Athens, Greece, to a brilliant basketball career, growing into a league MVP and NBA champion.

Now his story is coming to The Westport Library.

On Wednesday, February 28, the Library will be screening the brand new, feature-length documentary from Improbable Media and Words + Pictures: Giannis: The Marvelous Journey. The event will run from 6:30 pm to 9 pm. Tickets are free; registration is strongly encouraged.

The film screening will be followed by an in-person talkback in the Library’s Trefz Forum with Director Kristen Lappas and Improbable Media co-founder, former basketball star, and current ESPN analyst Jay Williams.

Giannis: The Marvelous Journey is the portrait of a global superstar and one of the NBA’s most dominating performers, a two-time league MVP who led the Milwaukee Bucks to a championship in 2021. His path began a world away, on the streets of Athens, where he was raised on the margins of society, alongside three brothers, by parents who had immigrated from Nigeria in search of a better life.

The film features interviews with Antetokounmpo and his entire family, including his mother Veronica; his brothers Thanasis, Kostas, and Alex; and his fiancée Mariah Riddlesprigger, as well as basketball luminaries Jason Kidd, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Kenny Smith, Vin Baker, Ernie Johnson, and more.

It marks the first time the family has given first-person accounts on their collective journey.

“There's been a lot of people that have shared their version of our story, but we felt like this was our time to open up about our dad, our foundation, our journey and do it in our way,” Antetokounmpo told People. “It was time for us to go out there and share this, like I said, our way. That's one thing that I'm very, very happy about — it’s our way.”

In the same interview, Antetokounmpo credited Lappas for making his family feel comfortable and bringing their story to life.

"She did a very good job of making everybody open up, because we don't really do that, especially to a stranger," he said.

Said Lappas: “The family has been apprehensive to tell their story in a documentary; they're very private. But we were able to really go there on their complicated relationship with Greece, with their dad's passing, which he had never opened up about, and I feel like this just shows a different side of him.”

Presented by Prime Video, Giannis: The Marvelous Journey is produced by Lappas, Connor Schell, and Hannah Beir, and executive produced by Aaron Cohen, Libby Geist, Nick Monroe, and Giorgos Panou.

L to R: Kristen Lappas and Jay Williams (Photos: Courtesy Amazon Prime Video)

About the Speakers

Lappas is a two-time Emmy Award winner for her short sports documentaries (Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible and A Mountain to Climb). She has had her work featured at the Tribeca Film Festival and has been honored by AFI Docs, the NAMIC Vision Awards, and the Critics Choice Awards. Lappas began her career at ESPN and worked with ESPN Films, producing eight installments of the Peabody Award-winning series 30 for 30.

Most recently, Lappas, the daughter of former Villanova basketball coach Steve Lappas, directed the 30 for 30 multi-part documentary Dream On, which was nominated for an IDA award. Lappas won in the “Best Non-Fiction Show Director” category at the Women's Image Awards for the series.

Williams is a media personality, entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and former basketball sensation. He was a McDonald’s All-American as a high school player and went on to enjoy a remarkable career at Duke, earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors as a freshman, leading the Blue Devils to a national title as a sophomore, and earning NCAA National Player of the Year honors as a junior. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, selected by the Chicago Bulls.

Williams is now the lead commentator for ESPN’s College GameDay and serves as one of the faces of college basketball. Along with Antetokounmpo, he launched Improbable Media in January 2024, serving as chairman of the next-generation production and brand consulting company.


Prime Video Presents Giannis: The Marvelous Journey Film Screening and Talkback
Wednesday, February 28
6:30-9 pm
The Westport Library, Trefz Forum


Pictured above: Giannis Antetokounmpo (via Improbable Media) and Jay Williams (via ESPN Images: Phil Ellsworth)

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