EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Two El Paso residents took their skills to the next level by participating in TBS ‘new game show, “The Cube,” hosted by former NBA star Dwyane Wade, winning 50 $ 000.

El Pasoans Samantha and TJ Stukes were selected to appear in the show’s first episode, which involves a series of carnival-like games the couple had to complete to reach the final prize of $ 250,000. All the games take place inside the Cube, a glass box with attitude. Working alone or as a team, each pair has nine lives to complete seven matches that are worth an increasing amount of money.

TJ Stukes has said he and his wife, Samantha, have been longtime fans of the show, which originally aired in the UK. “The game show is a global thing. … Me and Sam have always watched the show, ”he said. “And then I saw he was coming to the United States and I was like, ‘I have to apply. “”

The show’s producers contacted him and the couple did a Zoom interview. And then they waited for a response for three months of “hard work,” TJ said. “It was crazy because we didn’t think we got in,” he said.

El Pasoans TJ Stukes and Samantha Stukes compete on “The Cube”. Photograph by Jeremy Freeman.

But they got a call in the fall and were on their way to Atlanta to appear on the show. The experience was intense, but TJ said it was great working with the team and meeting Wade was a dream come true.

“People say never meet your heroes, but he’s so humble,” he said. “He was more excited for us than we were. It was all like a fantasy. It was almost like it wasn’t real, like ‘wake up’.

The Stukes run a gym in northeast El Paso – Southwest Desert Hoops – that trains adults as well as young at-risk athletes in their community and helps them get into college. The couple are used to high pressure situations, having played basketball in college. TJ went on to play for the Harlem Wizards basketball team, traveling the world. They used their experience as athletes to employ a teamwork ethic to complete the tasks of the show.

“Me and Sam are both alphas. And I think that’s the most debilitating and loving thing in our relationship, ”TJ said. “We are constantly bumping into each other, but at the same time, we love each other so much. And when it comes to teamwork, we’re always listening to each other.

As for all of the stressful decisions on the show, the Stukes were tuned in enough to know how to work together or encourage each other during each challenge, he said. They didn’t prepare much, but decided the plan was not to get too greedy, he said.

TJ Stukes, Samantha Stukes, Dwyane Wade. Photograph by Jeremy Freeman.

The couple had the opportunity to continue competing for the top prize, but chose to stick with the $ 50,000 prize they hit.

Andress High School graduates TJ and Samantha said they wanted to be on the show to improve their gym equipment and invest money for scholarships for their young athletes. Above all, they were happy to represent El Paso – especially the northeast of El Paso, which they paid tribute to on the show.

“I want people to hear that we represent the North East,” TJ said. “It’s unfathomable that people don’t like the northeast and Sam has worked so hard” to provide opportunities for those in northeast El Paso.

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