Gian Paul Gonzalez, a high school teacher in Union City NJ, was asked to lead a chapel service for members of the NY Giants football team the night before their Christmas Eve 2011 game against the NY Jets. Playoff hopes were slim. To illustrate the concept of commitment, Gian Paul handed each football player a poker chip, instructing them to write their number on one side and what they wanted to be committed to on the other. He then shared the meaning behind the poker phrase “All In” and challenged them to fully commit to anything they take on, as a father, husband, son or even football player.
The next day the Giants beat the Jets 29-14. In a post game interview, Giant’s DE Justin Tuck credited Gian-Paul’s “All In” message as the reason. The team went on to run the table that season, winning every game, up to and including Super Bowl XLVI, where they beat the New England Patriots 21-17.
Gian Paul’s life mirrors his message. A former NCAA First Team All-American forward from Montclair State University, he scored nearly 1,400 points in his 3 year career. After playing in the NBA Summer League in 2007 he was offered professional basketball contracts, but turned them down in order to continue his work with at-risk youth. He is a gifted motivational speaker and founder of 4-One, an organization dedicated to using basketball to share a message of hope and striving for excellence in inner-city public schools and juvenile jails.