A former NBA superstar surprised a Florida police officer and a group of teenagers days after the officer was captured on video responding to a call of children playing basketball too loudly in the street and instead of breaking up the game, the officer joined them.
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, touched by Gainesville Police Department Officer Bobby White’s gesture, showed up to the neighborhood where White was called to and played a game of basketball with the children and the officer.
According to Action News 30, O’Neal wanted to keep the event as low-key as possible. He called the Gainesville public information officer Ben Tobias requesting the event to be kept under wraps for the sake of the children.
“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.
“Without my choice to keep it a secret, I’m not sure this day would have transpired like it did,” he added.
White had been dispatched to deal with a complaint about the teens playing too loudly at about 5 p.m. on Jan. 15, police said. The officer is seen on dashboard video playing with the teens and even throwing down a slam dunk.
In less than 12 hours, the video was seen more than 2 million times, according to First Coast News. White was subsequently dubbed the “basketball cop.”
The video was accompanied by this message:
“So…if you call GPD to complain about kids being kids… This is how Officer White is going to handle it. We’re going to let kids be kids. We are going to focus on the ones that commit crimes. #HoopsNotCrime”