On the late afternoon of January 15, Officer Bobby White of Gainesville, Florida, was dispatched to respond to a call about kids who were playing basketball “loudly” in a neighborhood.
He walks up to one of the boys playing and sternly asks, “Can you believe someone’s calling to complain about kids playing basketball in the street?”
He then cracks a smile and adds, “I don’t know who called, but obviously I ain’t got no problem with it.”
The video then shows White starting to play basketball with the group, with him taking a shot and missing. The kid then tosses the ball back to the officer for another shot. Then, a few other kids join in the game.
“I obviously have no problem with you playing basketball on the street,” he tells them. “Just, if you can, try not too be too loud, you know what i mean? But have fun. I’d rather see you all do this than out there causing trouble.”
Before leaving, White asks, “You guys play out here every day? I’m going to try to bring some back up out here tomorrow and we’ll get a little game going.
“The takeaway here is — these kids were out, not inside playing video games, getting exercise and having fun,” Gainseville Police Department spokesman Ben Tobias told CBS News.
Within 24 hours of its posting, the dashcam video was viewed 5 million times and shared about 135,000. A Twitter hashtag #hoopsnotcrime was also created in support for Officer White’s response to the noise complaint.
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The viral video also caught the attention of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal who, as an Orlando Sentinel report said, “long has been fascinated with law enforcement.” The report said O’Neill “was so impressed with White’s handling of the matter, the NBA legend traveled to Gainesville [January 23] to hoop it up with White and the neighborhood kids.”
O’Neal tried to keep his visit as low-key as possible, but when you’re Shaq there is no such thing as low-key.
Watch Shaq play basketball with the kids and the good cop below:
“I became a cop to help people, and these kids will never forget the day Shaq rolled up to their neighborhood and played basketball with them,” Tobias said.
“Things like this could have been handled so differently,” Tobias said about White’s first encounter with the kids. “How [Officer White] handled it really put a human aspect to it.”
The eight-year police veteran Officer White is known in his department for being “‘a problem-solver’ with a passion for working with youth”, BuzzFeed reported.