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Gian Paul Gonzalez is a New Jersey high school teacher, former Montclair State basketball player and the founder of the Christian b-ball organization, 4-One. After some New York Giants players participated in a 4-One event, the G-Men chaplain invited Gonzalez to speak during the Giants' chapel service. The former All-American has now been speaking to them for three years.
Gonzalez is making headlines now because of his speech the night before Christmas Eve. It inspired the Giants' new battle cry, "All In," which, according to defensive end Justin Tuck, led to their win over the Jets. MTV Clutch spoke to Gonzalez about being "All In," Superbowl XLVI and whether God abandoned Tim Tebow for Eli Manning.
Courtesy of Gian Paul Gonzalez
Tell us about your "All In" speech.
I felt like I wanted to address commitment. Sometimes God puts things in our lives and we have to be totally committed to them. Even when we don't want to be, we have to be all in. That's when I took out a poker chip and talked about the poker player. He takes risks and bets it all. I told the guys to write down on the poker chip one area where they wanted to be all in. And it's pretty serious when someone says they're all in because if they lose, that's it. It's over.
Did you ever dream it could become a popular hashtag on Twitter?
I had no idea. I've spoken to them many times before. They've enjoyed it and they've been affected by it, but it's never happened to this degree. When they beat the Jets, the chaplain called and said to go online and watch Justin Tuck's press conference. Later the Giants called me up and said the guys wanted towels made with the phrase "All In." I had no idea it would be the rally cry that it is right now.
As a man of faith, do you think God traded the Broncos for the Giants?
[laughs] I guess I never thought about that. That's a good one. I think sports influence our society. I think with all things, like my ministry organization, it's definitely a tool that can be used to influence others. I did an interview with a sports radio station and one guy said, "I'm not a football player, but there are definitely some things I could be all in with in my life." I think if anything sports can be used to build character.
With the Super Bowl less than a week away, do you have anymore motivational words for the G-Men?
I think they're doing a pretty good job with the motivational angle. My speech to them in December was in three parts. First, when you decide you're going to be all in, it's usually a bad situation. Second, it's scary because the results are uncertain. But the third part is that it's worth it. Five weeks ago when this seemed like a bad situation, they got through the scary part. They're at the part now where it was worth it. They made it to the Super Bowl. They should enjoy it and leave everything they have on the field. Just enjoy what they've gone through by being all in.
If you want to check out more on Gian Paul Gonzalez, catch his interview on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" before the Super Bowl. And maybe it's time America abandoned Tebowing in favor of salsa dancing.