When Florida police officer Bobby White played street basketball with a group of neighborhood kids this month, he promised he’d return for a rematch.
He showed up Saturday, this time with a full-court press. It included fellow officers and one especially large backup: 7-foot-1 Shaquille O’Neal of NBA fame.
White, a Gainesville Police Department officer, gained popularity when a video emerged showing his response to a noise complaint about youth playing basketball “too loudly.”
In the police dashcam video posted online Thursday and watched 14 million times, White is seen pulling up at the neighborhood to address the noise complaint.
Scene of no-crime
But instead of scolding the kids or breaking up the game, he joins them.
“We’re going to let kids be kids. We are going to focus on the ones that commit crimes. #HoopsNotCrime,” the police department said in the Facebook post accompanying the video.
After the game ended, White told the kids he’d return to shoot more hoops. He kept his promise Saturday.
“Told you I was gonna bring some backup, right? You guys ready?” he asked the kids.
“Look at these big guys I brought. You sure you can take them?”
O’Neal then emerged from an SUV to cheers, his large frame looming over the officers in uniform.
“Girleeee!” one young man exclaimed as the NBA legend walked toward the street court.
“Oh my God, you’re huge!” another kid said as the former Miami Heat player leaned in for a hug.
Points and fist bumps
O’Neal expressed interest in playing in the rematch after watching the video of the officer’s response to the noise complaint, according to the police department.
“These kids will never forget the day Shaq rolled up to their house to play ball,” the police department said.
O’Neal scored points with the kids on and off the field.
In addition to teaching them basketball tips, he doled out hugs and fist bumps, and urged them to follow their dreams.