For this week’s edition of 10 Questions, columnist Reena Gilani ’13 sat down with senior football player Max Martinez. They discussed his brief stint as a YouTube sensation, as well as Selfie Saturdays and his star-crushed obsession with LeBron James.
1. Let’s talk about football first. You were captain of both the track and field and football teams in high school, how did you end up going with football coming into college?
When I started playing football in ninth grade, I fell in love with it and knew that was what I wanted to do. You either love football or you don’t.
I hear you went to an all guys high school that you were infatuated with and you did the Nike SPARQ challenge? Why don’t we talk about the YouTube video for that.
The YouTube video had over 50,000 views. It’s just crazy because that was already like four and a half years ago. I really don’t think about it anymore or anything, but when some people see me they think about the video; they’re either like “Max Martinez Belen Jesuit, no I did not I wasn’t ready” or they say “wow, that guy is actually the biggest tool ever”. They just recite quotes — I guess I had a ton of quotables? I was just really nervous, I worked so hard for that moment and my dream came true. I guess you can just say I was not ready for that moment. Pun completely intended.
So what exactly was it, you set a record?
I set a record for the overall score of all time. I beat Reggie Bush, but I didn’t get Kim Kardashian. I was so upset about that. I beat all these guys, and I had the all-time record at [a Sparq rating of] 116. I also had a 4.09 shuttle and a vertical jump of 36 inches. I literally was all over the Internet in a day, everything changed so fast. Even all of that didn’t get me Kim Kardashian. But it was the dream that I wanted, I worked my butt off for it; I woke up every morning at 4:30 and I worked out, went to class, went to football and worked with Jim and Irik at Fast Twitch Performance Training at night. For that moment to actually come true and win…you’re telling me I did that? That’s why in the video I was so anxious the whole time. It’s unbelievable. This unknown kid just went out and beasted everyone, I worked my butt off. I know Kim saw it at one point though.
So you’re kind of a mini celebrity.
As Coach Hanna would say, “If you will.”
2. What about your football career here?
Lots of injuries. I tore my pec freshman year, had a minor stress fracture in my tibia last season for nine months and I rehabbed it this summer. Both of my shoulders have popped out, I’ve just had bad luck with injuries, but everyday my teammates know that while I’m not the player I wanted to used to be — Max Martinez Belen Jesuit — I’m still the same guy when it comes to wanting something, and that I will fight for it until it kills me. The thing that I want is a championship with my teammates. It’s something I have always dreamed of. I have to be like LeBron and get that first ring, except my retirement will be at the end of this season. I absolutely love my team; I would die for my team. My career here has been full of injuries and position switches, but that hasn’t held me back from leading and playing. To be honest, I’ve always considered myself a special teams player and special teams are my thing and position. I like to lead those. You don’t have to be the best player to be a great teammate, unless you are Jeff Mathews ’14, because you are both. Jeff Mathews for Heisman ’12.
3. Moving away from the sport, you have actively made yourself known through social media forums. I hear you enjoy Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook, all that.
Not Tumblr. Tumblr is something I merely dabble with.
What about the other three? What’s your favorite?
Instagram. You can express yourself and your day through pictures. I think it’s sweet that you can edit the pictures and filters. Should you change the contrast? Increase the saturation? Sometimes it’s difficult for me because I’m colorblind, really though, so it’s hard for me to match things, but I love art, it blows my mind.
Selfie Saturdays included?
Selfie Saturday is a special day, it’s a movement. Everyone is going to be doing Selfie Saturday one day, I promise you.
How did that get started?
One Saturday, I was bored. The natural thing for an iPhone owner to do when they’re bored is to take “selfies”. It was a Saturday and it was a “selfie”, that’s how you get Selfie Saturday. Take a picture of yourself, wherever you’re at. When I started it, I was in sick places. One of them I was right in front of the clock tower, the next week I was at the Washington Monument visiting Sidney Balman ’13. Lately, I’ve been doing more photoshops to make myself believe that I should be hanging out with Olivia Munn.
I hear if someone’s one of your best friends they’ll get special, individual selfies.
Did Caroline tell you that? Yeah, it’s something me and my sister started doing. We just started sending each other pictures then I started doing it with Sidney and sending him all these random pictures of stuff going on in my day. That’s why I love pictures. People know I love Mobile Uploads on Facebook. The reason being is that there is nothing fake about a picture. It is what it is. It’s what you did today; it’s what you’re doing. You’re not pretending to be anyone you’re not, you’re just putting up pictures of your day. People are full of crap if they claim they don’t like to see themselves in pictures; everyone does, especially Demarr Moulton ’13. Guy literally asks me to take pictures of him everyday
4. So what is your obsession with LeBron James?
LeBron James has been my favorite player since fifth grade. In fifth grade, I went to Sea Camp with my class and that weekend was going to be my birthday. At Sea Camp, my friend and I collided and I broke a bone in my upper eye, and when I got home that weekend from that trip — they made me leave early — my birthday present was there. It was an autographed ball on my bed, with a picture of LeBron signing it. It was when he was a junior in high school, that’s how long I’ve been a fan! Then you tell me like 12 years later he’s on my favorite team that I grew up ball-boying for?! That’s a legitimate, cool obsession; people need to understand that. That’s a boyhood idol coming to my team, so everyone needs to chill. I also had a broken face so it was definitely good to know that something was going right for me.
What about Brian Cushing?
Actually, that’s another deep moment. So before the Nike Combine, I sent Brian Cushing a message on Facebook, wishing him luck and letting him know what I was going to do, that I was going to go out there and ball as hard as I could and try to make it. And he answered me back, saying: “you just go out and you do you, just always know that you’re out there working the hardest”.
And Russell Westbrook? I heard he was your favorite NBA player.
Yeah, that’s so funny and false at the same time.
5. Let’s talk more about the meaning you have in your life. What about your tattoos, you have a quote on your back?
I have “imperfection is beauty” on my back. So that’s a deep story. I was going to get my other tattoo fixed.
Which is the seven to the eight for your jersey number.
Correct. When I was on my way there, I saw this thing on the wall and a homeless guy next to it. I looked at the homeless guy, I went up and gave him two bucks, you know, and on the wall next to him it says: “imperfection is beauty”. And here I was, going to get my other tattoo fixed, and I was thinking about it and I was like, oh my god that just makes so much sense. What you love about people isn’t what they’re amazing at. You honestly can live with their flaws, and you love their flaws. I feel like anyone who is very close to me knows that I’ve been through a lot in my life, and that I’m not perfect, and I really feel like that phrase just hit it right on the head. That’s what I believe my life is. I feel like all the mistakes I’ve made have made me the person that I am today and I’m cool and happy with it. So I got to Artistic Point and asked them for wax paper, wrote/drew it, and they did it on the spot.
6. Can you tell me about your business? How did MaxyClean start?
I was working in private equity the summer after my sophomore year and a couple of my friends who go to TCU were talking about that business. I was like if we have this business at Cornell, why isn’t it advertised? I looked into it, went in, pounced, and used what I’m good at: social media. I was making catchy signs, a Twitter and Facebook commercials. I killed it, and we did absolutely amazing. I started my first LLC as a junior football player at an Ivy League school. It was a hard organization to run, staying up until 3 a.m. and then waking up at 6 a.m. for football, going through the whole day and making sure shifts were okay. Couldn’t have done it without Caleb Crim ’13. Luckily for everyone, I never touched any laundry personally; I had four employees. Besides the experience, I also made money and got a sweet nickname out of it. Now I hear MaxyClean more than I hear MaxiPad, which is absolutely fantastic.
7. You’re also a writer. You work for Campus Basement, how is that?
I take my writing seriously. I’m telling you, I do a crazy amount of writing and drawing. Campus Basement is a satire site, and I love it. I love writing a creative story that’s somewhat believable. I’m just honing my talents by tricking people and seeing what is believable and what isn’t. Be sure to check out the site though, awesome group of creative writers.
Like Vinny from Jersey Shore.
That was insane. Normally, when I write an article, I expect 10 to 15 likes at the beginning. But the way I phrased it: “Justin Bieber not coming to Cornell but guess who is” made it sound really believable. It still doesn’t sound believable, considering it says Bieber and Cornell in the same headline, but whatever. I’m not here to insult people’s intelligence in an interview; I do that in the articles.
What were the reactions you received to the story?
When I wrote it, I was watching the Heat playoff game and an hour later I open my computer and it has 435 likes and I’m like, what the hell is going on? … The next day it becomes this huge rumor and it gets up to like 2,000 likes on Facebook. Vinny had to go out and tweet and say, “No I’m not coming to Cornell, that’s just some fan site”. Sorry Vinny, but we are most definitely not a Jersey Shore fan site, contrary to popular belief. It was so believable, yet unbelievable … the character was just perfect, because if there was anyone who would just come here and make a tanning salon that turns into a club at night, it would be Vinny. If there was anyone who wanted to stay in New York and stay close to mom’s meatballs, it was Vinny from the Jersey Shore. That next morning, I’m getting texts and calls: “your article is on the cover of Barstool Sports” and that was crazy. Vinny and I are cool now; he sent me some temporary tattoos from his new clothing line just the other day. They came off in the shower though.
8. What does the term “Jones” mean, and can you use it in proper context in a sentence?
It means like “that dude”. Here’s a sentence. That Jones Dillard meanders around Collegetown in the passenger side of his best friend’s ride, seeking someone’s advice on what flavor Doritos to buy at Wilson Farms.
That’s it? Where’d it come from?
Willie Samuel Minor ‘14. It’s Tre’ for short. How he got Tre’ out of that? I have no idea. But Tre’ is that Jones.
9. Can you tell me about your little sister? Her name’s the third tattoo you have, right?
Yes, she’s my best friend in the whole entire world, there’s no other way to describe it. Some people choose to get meaningless first tattoos like love in Chinese letters. When you get your first tattoo, you think of the most meaningful thing to you and you put it on your body because it’s your first one, and that was mine. I got it on her birthday when I was away from college for the first time. Jenna Bug and I have been through so much together and it’s so amazing how mature, smart, funny, athletic and what a good person my sister is. She’d never do harm to anyone. She’s talented and creative, she’s going to come to Cornell and run track one day.
So you’re clearly sort of this big softie, how is it that you’re single?
I’ve got to find someone who will understand that I have many responsibilities and that a lot of people count on me. I just need someone to believe in me just like I believe in them. If she’s an athlete, I’ll be at every game or match possible. If she’s an actress, then I’ll go to every show. If I had a girlfriend here at Cornell, I would treat her perfectly. That’s the way I see it when you have a girlfriend, you’re either with it or you are not. I really want to be committed and I want to find a girl who’s special and is extremely motivated. I’m honestly not all about looks because looks go away, but motivation and brains don’t. It’s crazy because I’m a senior and I’ve always wanted to meet a girl at Cornell, but it just hasn’t happened. Sorry, that one belongs on deep.com.
10. Finally, I obviously have to bring this one up: favorite class at Cornell?
The First American University with Prof. Earle. I had a great time with the tweets in that class. I got top tweeter a few times. That class was awesome because I absolutely love Cornell — it’s my favorite place. Just the types of people, everyone can find a way to get along. I love Ithaca as a whole, I love going down to the Commons and I know the people in the stores and they know me. Professor Earle is the man. He’s such a nice guy and has a great way of teaching, so interactive. If you told me I could tweet all class and that I was learning, I’d think you’re ridiculous. But then try doing it; I’ll write something witty or stupid to make it a Top Tweet, but the truth is you’ll always remember what you said and what you were talking about. Through the class, I learned that I learn significantly better through Twitter. Other professors should take notes. I was really blown away by that class, definitely going to go back this year and tweet.
Just sit in?
I mean why not? I do pay full tuition.