'Basketball Cop' surprises kids with new court
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A group of Gainesville kids got a big surprise Tuesday, from the “Basketball Cop,” Gainesville Police Officer Bobby White.
GPD and White presented the kids with their very own basketball court.
White continues to win praise, after video went viral, of him playing hoops with a group of kids. Instead of chastising them when a neighbor complained the boys were making too much noise playing in the neighborhood -- White joined them in a friendly pickup game.
White then approached the mother of one of the kids who lives at the home with an idea -- he wanted to build a court in their backyard.
The group of nine kids couldn't contain their excitement when Harlem Globetrotter Buckets Blakes strolled onto their new half-court.
"I didn’t think the Globetrotters, Shaq, The Magic-- that any of this was going to happen. He just came and told us and we were all amazed and surprised. We just went from there," said Aahtrell Johnson, one of nine kids.
Buckets helped officially open the kids' new area "hoops not crime" basketball court.
The court was built by a local business in one of the kids' backyards, to help control the neighborhood noise.
Buckets encouraged the group to enjoy all the attention and gifts they've been getting, but want them to remember the golden rule.
“You have to pay it forward. so you got a remember all the little things in life no matter how successful you become,” said Buckets. "I'm just hoping they walk away with the fact that when they get older they'll had to help somebody one day and hopefully they see that. Somebody looked out for them and gave them the opportunity to have something by building a basketball court."
The kids made headlines in late January, when video went viral, of them in a game of hoops with White.
The officer choose to connect with the kids by playing with them, rather than punishing them, after a neighbor complained about the noise.
Basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal even traveled to Gainesville to meet and play with the kids.
Buckets proceeded to school the kids on the court, again and again, though the occasional bucket that got by him, really made their day.
“There's millions of people that see this video that are touched by this video and by what we're doing, So I can’t imagine what millions of people contributing can turn into for an infinite number of kids. It's pretty exciting,” said White.
White also announced the upcoming creation of the Basketball Cop Foundation, which will help deliver resources to local neighborhood kids and apartment complexes that can utilize new basketball equipment.
“I'm so happy for these kids. They're just having a blast. ‘Is there any end in sight?’ I hope not. I hope there's no end of the story. You know there's an infinite number of kids that we can affect with this and not only basketball but with other progress with kid,” said White.
White has created a Facebook page where more information can be found on upcoming projects.
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