Former professional Call of Duty player turned caster and analyst, Anthony "NAMELESS" Wheeler has, for the first time ever, revealed the story of his upbringing and how pro gaming changed his life.
NAMELESS has been a stalwart of the competitive Call of Duty community since the early days, competing for over eight years at the very top of the pro scene.
He went on to win six championships and over $500,000 in prize money with his teams, until finally stepping away from the main stage and onto the casters desk, midway through the 2018 CWL Season.
But, despite being one of best known veterans in the scene, not much was known about NAMELESS' childhood and how he came to be a legendary Call of Duty competitor.
In the most recent episode of 'Behind the Controller' by Scuf Gaming and MLG, NAMELESS reveals more about his personal life than he ever has before, retelling a remarkable story of overcoming struggle to get where he is today.
"Growing up where I did, there was only a few options for me. It was either gangbanging, drugs, video games or being a mess up. Luckily, from a one in a million chance, I found the right path.
I spent a lot of my childhood bouncing around different houses. It was tough because I had no father figure, he left right when I was born so I never met him, never knew him. And my Mom, was unfortunately addicted to drugs, so she was always in and out of jail."
For NAMELESS, it was his Grandmother who stepped up and took responsibility for him when he was set to be adopted, and is also to thank for his passion for video games.
"We were meeting with the adoption lady, my Grandma got to the place and took us and said 'you're not leaving this family, you're not getting adopted, I'm not letting this happen.'
We moved to a really bad area, right outside of Chicago, and I was associating with people I shouldn't be. My Grandma didn't know what to do about it, so she just bought me a tonne of video games. With whatever money she could put together, she would buy me games."
From there, NAMELESS became an avid gamer, and being indoors gaming kept him out of trouble - and of course, later became his career.
He explains that his biggest win, 2nd place at the 2014 World Championship netting $200,000, came at the perfect time as he and his grandparents were struggling.
"I was $4,000 in debt, my Grandma got sick, my Grandpa got unemployed. If we didn't make money at champs, I was pretty much screwed. If I didn't get top two at that tournament, who knows what would have happened, I can tell you I would not be sitting here, so thank God."
Finally revealing all these personal details of his struggle, NAMELESS says he doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for him, rather to use his journey as inspiration.
"I'm at a point now where I feel like I can tell this story, and I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. It's something that I didn't want people to know for 22 years of my life. It didn't decide what was going to happen for me - I decided what was going to happen for me. [...] And I'm thankful, that Call of Duty lead me to this path."
You can watch the full video from Scuf Gaming and MLG on NAMELESS' remarkable journey below.
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