• Gainesville 'basketball cop' takes children to NBA game

    Updated:

    A Gainesville police officer who garnered nationwide attention for how he handled a noise complaint about children playing basketball last month took the crew of kids to an NBA game Sunday.

    Officer Bobby White, known as the “Basketball cop,” surprised the children with VIP invitations to an Orlando Magic game.

    They sat courtside during game warmups and were recognized at center court during the game.

    White first met the children after he responded to a complaint of children playing basketball “loudly” in the streets on Jan. 15.

    He started playing basketball with the group and returned with retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal days later for a rematch.

    The Police Department posted the video of White’s interaction with the children on its Facebook page and it reached more than 17 million views.

    People commented on the GPD Facebook page applauding White for how he handled the situation, which the department described as “kids … having fun. Not committing crimes.”

    White’s story was featured on national media networks.

    The video ends with text on the screen that said:

    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.

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