Have you ever felt like you were born to do a specific something? You’re not sure how or when you will being doing what you feel born to do, but you know that you have the will to make that happen. All you need, is for an opportunity to present itself. For truly passionate hoopers, they feel like they were born to hoop and play at the highest level possible until father time catches up. Although, sometimes our time seems to end early leaving us to feel like we need to find a new passion. For most of us, playing competitive Basketball ends when we graduate high school or college. But does it have to? If you think your dream is dying due to lack of grades to play in college or your skill level is not up to par with the NBA level–YET, there is still hope to keep the dream alive, thanks to the “Unknown.”
Founded by Tony Eackles Jr., an East Las Vegas native, the Unknown possess an inspiring foundation built around hungry hoopers that refuse to let their dream die, while hoping to “enspire” other hoopers around them to never give up themselves, no matter what the statistics or critics say. They didn’t wait for an opportunity to play somewhere came to their doorstep. They put their shoes on and went to chase the opportunities themselves. As you read this article and the history behind the Unknown, keep anybody that you know is looking for an opportunity to extend their basketball career, in mind. The Unknown host try-outs every Spring and Winter while accepting individual try-outs year ’round.
Since 2017, the Las Vegas Unknown have been traveling, competing in basketball tournaments around the United States and other countries like England, France, and Greece, defying the odds that were set against them. The first tournament they participated in 2017 was at Carmelo Anthony Court in NYC. Tony Eackles Jr. earned All-Tournament honors and Justin King was able to put his game on display, helping him earn professional opportunities overseas. Justin is currently playing in Australia for the Warwick Senators. In 2018, they participated and won their first overseas WCBT (World Club Basketball Tournament) in England going undefeated. The high level of play displayed by the Unknown helped gather contract offers for Kojo Afari and Duelle Gore. Kojo is now playing in Vietnam after previously playing in Australia as well while Duelle has been playing in Mexico the past two seasons. 2019 has been huge for the Unknown playing in the Hoops Party France tournament in France as well as the Laconia Summer Basketour tournament in Greece. Tony made it to the All-Star Game in France while co-owner Kevin Clark won the 3-point competition. In Greece, the Unknown came out in 2nd place as Tony and Greg Floyd Jr. both were named to the “Best Starting Five” of the tournament. Juwan Johnson was named best shooting guard averaging 18ppg, 7rpg, and 6apg throughout the tournament. This level of play has helped Tony, Greg, and Juwan acquire professional overseas contract offers and interest throughout Europe and Asia.
The exposure they are gaining by competing in these tournaments, hosting events, and sharing their content all over social media is becoming a spectacle. The Unknown are constantly searching for ways to gain the notoriety necessary in order to ensure the opportunity of extending their basketball careers with professional teams is always there. Although, that is not their only mission. For them, it’s much deeper than basketball. Basketball is a platform for them to show the world around them that every day is an opportunity to grow and gain influence. With this influence, they hope to lead the future down the best possible path en route to success. One of the events they have hosted was the “WCBT-LV 2019.” An event with the purpose of spreading awareness on youth-learning programs that are based around a goal to provide the youth with an alternative learning experience, that takes them away from their everyday learning curriculums. Some of the lessons in which the event aimed to teach were based around money management, nutrition, and even self-defense. With school districts not teaching students these types of things that we need to know prior to becoming an adult, for the Unknown to provide this type of event for their community is astounding. We all know that even our own future is within the youth’s hands; so it’s no wonder why they plan to turn this event into a yearly thing to continue building the brightest future possible for the youth in their community.
The Unknown are just getting started on this journey. Today, to some, they may literally be unknown. Although, expect the world to know who the Unknown are sooner than later. Each individual in this group of men are highly driven to the point where their obsession towards the sport of basketball and towards inspiring those around them won’t let them stop no matter the criticism they face. Failure is not an option for the Unknown and for all that are reading this, how can you possibly root against them? Stay tuned for more stories on them and their successes. Until then, you can find even more information on their website, lasvegasunknownbasketball.com.