On Jan. 15, Bobby White, a police officer of Gainesville, Florida, responded to a complaint that a group of kids playing basketball was being too loud.
White, however, did not have a problem with that at all.
“Can you believe someone is calling to complain about kids playing basketball in the street? I obviously don’t have a problem with it,” White could be heard saying in the police car’s dash cam video.
The video, which was featured at the Gainesville Police Department official Facebook page, has been viewed over 15.5 million times at the time of writing.
White could be seen pulling up at the location, however, instead of reprimanding the children to tone down the noise, the police officer joined the game.
“We’re going to let kids be kids. We are going to focus on the ones that commit crimes. #HoopsNotCrime,” said the police department at the end of the viral video.
The popularity of the video and its accompanying hashtag has apparently reached one of the biggest names in basketball, who accompanied White when he returned to play more basketball with the kids, as he had promised.
When White and some other police officers arrived at the spot where the kids were playing, White said that he brought some backup. The backup was no other than three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal, who went to the Gainesville police station to surprise White after being touched by White’s actions. O’Neal is actually a reserve police officer himself, sworn in last year in South Florida.
When O’Neal emerged from the vehicle, the children couldn’t believe that it was the legendary center that was walking toward their makeshift basketball court.
O’Neal played basketball with the kids in a game that they would never forget, including a free-throw challenge, ending in a huddle that was sprinkled with good advice.
During the huddle, O’Neal said that he would be telling them a secret that changed his life. He said that he made $700 million over the course of his career, and he was able to make that money by respecting his peers, listening to his parents and focusing on his studies.
“I will become whatever I want to be,” O’Neal said while he made the children say the words with him. “I will be a leader and not a follower. I will respect my peers and my elders and especially my parents.”
While Shaq was playing basketball with the children, there were most likely no noise complaints filed. The children who were wrongly reported for playing a game they love were able to meet a basketball superstar and receive good advice from him, all thanks to the admirable initiative by White and the GPD.
The video of White, who has been an officer for Gainesville for eight years, has received overwhelming support amid different police brutality reports across the country. While the topic is still under conversation, seeing a police officer make such an initiative goes to show that violence among the police force should not be generalized.