A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 22, 2012
“John 3:16” (sports usage)

The New Testament’s Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16, reads:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Rollen Stewart (also known as “Rock ‘n’ Rollen” and “Rainbow Man") appeared on the television sports scene at the NBA finals in 1977, where he wore a rainbow-colored afro-style wig. Stewart began attending many sporting events and became very recognizable in a “Jesus Saves” T-shirt and a sign that read “John 3:16.”

The sports “John 3:16” messages continued with football quarterback Tim Tebow, who wrote the message in his eye black while playing at the University of Florida and in the NFL. On January 8, 2012, Tebow won a playoff game for the Denver Broncos while passing for exactly 316 yards.


Wikipedia: John 3:16
John 3:16 (chapter 3, verse 16 of the Gospel of John) is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible, and has been called the most famous Bible verse. It has also been called the “Gospel in a nutshell”.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
— John 3:16
(...)
References in popular culture
. John 3:16 printed on the bottom rim of an In-N-Out Burger paper cup. The phrase “John 3:16” is very short and can be written inconspicuously in out-of-the-way locations. In the U.S., the In-N-Out Burger chain prints it on the inside of the bottom rim of their paper cups, clothing chain Forever 21 and Heritage (1981) print it on the bottom of their shopping bags, and Tornado Fuel Saver prints it on the box.
. Some people (such as the Rainbow Man) display the reference in large letters at sporting events, seeking the attention of fellow fans, the staff controlling the venue’s giant video screens and, if the game is televised, the television audience.
. The Heisman-winning American football player Tim Tebow printed this reference (among other Bible verses) on his eye black, notably during the 2009 BCS championship. Exactly three years later on January 8, 2012, was the game that would become known as “The 3:16 game”, where Tebow threw for 316 yards in a playoff upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers; a game in which measurements of 3, 16 and 31.6 were also noted, “John 3 16” became the top Google search in the US.

Wikipedia: Rollen Stewart
Rollen Frederick Stewart (born February 19, 1944), also known as Rock ‘n’ Rollen and Rainbow Man, was a fixture in American sports culture best known for wearing a rainbow-colored afro-style wig and, later, holding up signs reading “John 3:16” at stadium sporting events around the United States and overseas in the 1970s and 1980s.

Publicity
Apparently at first just in it for the publicity, Stewart became a born-again Christian determined to “getting the message out” via television. His first major appearance was at the 1977 NBA Finals; by the time of the 1979 MLB All-Star Game, broadcasters actively tried to avoid showing him.

Sports Illustrated
June 13, 1977
All For One Sure Beats One For All
Dr. J was his usual outasight, but one man can’t beat five, particularly when five men play like one, as Portland did to win the NBA title

Curry Kirkpatrick
(...)
Another night a man in a rainbow-colored Afro wig, Rockin’ Rollen Stewart, showed up at the Coliseum to say he was “a trippin’ dude representing the people pleasers.”

18 December 1983, Sunday World-Herald (Omaha, NE), pg. 4C, col. 4:
Man in Strange Wig
Responsible for Sign

The Knight-Ridder Newspapers
They mystery of the “John 3:16” banner at NFL games has finally been solved.

According to Pro Football Weekly and Detroit Lions publicist Brian Muir, the “John 3:16” sign originated from the same man who wears the rainbow-colored wig and the “Jesus Saves” T-shirt, and manages to get on television at most big-time sporting events.

“I met him at the Super Bowl a couple of years ago,” Muir said. “He says he goes around to sports events to get people to ask questions about the sign. Then he talks to them about religion.”

12 February 1984, Miami (FL) Herald, “Officials detain Rock ‘n’ Rollen,” pg. 4C:
Rock ‘n’ Rollen, the famous gate crasher with the rainbow wig and religious signs, was picked up by Yugoslavian security police outside Skenderija, the Winter Olympics’ press headquarters, Saturday night and held for at least three hours.
(...)
Rollen had been here for several days, wearing his familiar garb and carrying the sign, “John 3-16,” as well as others, familiar to American sports viewers.

23 November 1985, Mobile (AL) Press Register, “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles Schulz, pg. 10B:
SALLY BROWN: WATCHING A FOOTBALL GAME, I SEE…
SALLY BROWN: WHY DOES SOMEONE ALWAYS HANG A SIGN OVER THE RAILING THAT SAYS, “JOHN 3:16”?
CHARLIE BROWN: IT’S A SCRIPTURAL REFERENCE
SALLY BROWN: REALLY? THEN I WAS WRONG…
SALLY BROWN: I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH JOHN MADDEN…

CBS News
January 9, 2012 10:02 AM
John 3:16: Tebow stat line evokes biblical verse
By Stephen Smith
Tebow time is back in the spotlight - and inevitably so is the Denver Bronco quarterback’s faith.

After throwing for a season-high 316 yards against the Steelers in a playoff win Sunday night, the religious symbolism was too much for the Twittersphere to resist.

John 3:16 is the biblical verse most associated with Tebow, primarily because he routinely wrote it on his eye black during his collegiate career at Florida. (The verse reads: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.")

And Tebow’s stat line - 316 yards passing and 31.6 yards per completion - was no coincidence to many of his fans.

(Trademark)
Word Mark JOHN 3:16
Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: hats, shirts, jackets, coats, sneakers, pants, socks, undergarments and all sport jerseys. FIRST USE: 19981205. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19981205
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 75370763
Filing Date October 9, 1997
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition September 1, 1998
Date Amended to Current Register March 22, 1999
Registration Number 2258218
Registration Date June 29, 1999
Owner (REGISTRANT) Jackson, Otis INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 1712 N.W. 9th Ave. FORT LAUDERDALE FLORIDA 33311
Attorney of Record JOHN H. OLTMAN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register SUPPLEMENTAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Cancellation Date April 1, 2006

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Thursday, March 22, 2012 • Permalink