Many people heard the original story of the Basketball Cop in January 2016 – a Gainesville, Florida police officer responded to a complaint about some kids and teens playing basketball too loudly in the streets. (Side note – REALLY people?? Really? Complaining about kids playing outside? You need a hobby.)
The officer told the kids that someone complained about the noise but said he had no problem with it. Then he joined them and shot hoops for a bit. The dash cam video of the encounter is pretty awesome. More kids ended up joining in, and the officer left saying, “I might bring some back-up” after asking if the kids played there every day.
After the dash cam video went viral, Officer Bobby White made good on that promise and brought back-up…other officers and SHAQ. Dude’s a big, big man. He played ball with the kids and gave them some words of wisdom about respecting their peers, their elders, and especially their parents.
Soon after, people had started sending basketballs and hoops, and he thought it would be cool to raise funds to build a basketball court or two. He did just that, and then started the Basketball Cop Foundation. Their mission is “to connect law enforcement agencies across the countries with kids in their communities. This will be accomplished primarily by supplying agencies with sports equipment. The recipient agency will then in turn donate the equipment to groups if kids in their community through their patrol officers.”
At the time that this follow-up story aired on ESPN’s College GameDay in February, Officer White said the foundation had donated portable basketball goals and hundreds of basketballs to 28 agencies across the country AND had built two full NBA-sized courts in the community, too.
It feels like police officers more often than not are in the news for unpleasant reasons rather than stories like this, and as someone who has close friends in law enforcement, it makes me SO happy to see news like this 🙂
Watch the short video in the link below, and enjoy! And while you’re at it, thank a police officer in your community, too.