LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — When Lowell native Trey Howard and his best friend Shaquan Brown graduated from East Carolina University, they knew a typical 9 to 5 wasn’t for them.
“That always wasn’t really my cup of tea, so trying to find something that was a little more out there a little more outside of the box,” Howard said.
He and Brown started brainstorming ideas of what they could do to avoid the humdrum of a typical job.
“First, we were thinking like, OK, maybe we go around the country and find the best burger, you know that might be fun, we’re like, ‘Ahh, we’re not really foodies like that,’ but then it was like, well we’ve both been into basketball since we were little tikes so why not do this?”
At first, it started as a joke, a tour of every NBA arena across the country, but eventually, the two realized it didn’t have to be. So, they began calculating what it would take to make it happen.
“One car, two bros, three sets of plane tickets, 30 NBA arenas, 48 loads of laundry, 88 hotel rooms, 264 meals, 302 gallons of gas, a total of 23,259 miles traveled,” the two shared in a TikTok post.
They only had about two and a half months to plan their route and get in touch with the teams to secure tickets before the start of the 2023-24 season.
“It’s been slammed together pretty fast here,” Howard said.
Howard and Brown had some Zoom meetings with a few teams in advance of the trip to talk about how they could collaborate.
“They’ve all had like different ideas or things that they have brought to us that they would like for us to do,” Brown said. “So like Celtics, they we’re talking about going down to the community, they were talking about having jerseys made for us, going down to the community, hitting the local hot spots out there to, you know, connect with the fans.”
Howard and Brown hosted a community fundraiser in Lowell to help fund some of the trip but hope to gain endorsements. Known as the ‘Gap Year Guys,’ the duo plans to document their entire trip on TikTok and YouTube, hoping to eventually gain enough traction to earn sponsorships.
“A lot of it’s kind of riding on the whole. If we document all of it, then hopefully a bunch of people will be really interested to see it because it is a pretty unique idea and then we can rope some brands into helping us get around,” Howard said joking that if all else fails, “We apply for a bunch of credit cards if things go poorly.”
The Gap Years Guys will kick off their NBA tour at Golden State’s Home Opener against the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 24. They’ll fly out for the game and then fly back home before packing up their car and hitting the road.
The tour schedule, Brown and Howard said, was not easy to nail down.
“The issue was we would get maybe this far down [the list] and then the next team that we would want to go to is on a like a road trip for the next week and a half and then we’re just stuck, so the way that we finally decided to do it was to hit as much of the northern part of the country as we can to try to dodge like snow and all those complications that the winter time brings.”
After returning from San Francisco, the guys will drive to Cleveland then Detroit, make their way through New England, down the East Coast, back to the Midwest, head West, then round things out in the South with their final game on Jan. 19 in Charlotte, NC.
You can follow along on their journey here.