Robert "Bobby" White, often nicknamed the Basketball Cop, is an American police officer from Gainesville, Florida who is a member of the Gainesville Police Department (GPD). As of 2016, White has held his position for eight years. He rose to fame after a viral video of him was released, in which he played basketball with a group of teenage boys who were reported for playing too loud. His actions drew the attention of several national media outlets.
On January 15, 2016, at about 5:00 p.m., the Gainesville Police Department received a call because a group of teenagers were playing basketball too loudly in an inner-city neighborhood. White was dispatched to take care of the issue, but instead of asking them to leave, he joined them for a pick-up game. White said to one of the teenagers, "Can you believe someone is calling to complain about kids playing basketball in the street?...Obviously I don't have any problem with it." Later on, a few more teenagers joined the game and White said that they brought "backup." He also lowered the rim and made a slam dunk. He said that he would return the next day to play with the kids again.
White's actions were filmed through a dashcam by the Gainesville Police Department, and they later posted the video to Facebook, with the hashtag #HoopsNotCrime. Ben Tobias, the police department's social media manager, said, "Things like this could have been handled so differently. How [Officer White] handled it really put a human aspect to it." As of March 9, 2016, the video has recorded over 17.3 million views on Facebook.
The video soon caught the attention of former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, who trained to become a reserve police officer for the Los Angeles Port Police and the Miami Beach police force. He contacted the Gainesville Police Department, and once White returned to play with the boys, he brought O'Neal with him. White told them, "I brought some other backup for y'all". O'Neal offered the teenagers $100 for making a free throw, and he gave away $800 in total. After playing with them, O'Neal said, "Stay out of trouble, listen to your parents, respect your elders, and you can be anything you want to be" The GPD released a six-minute video, titled "The Rematch", which received over one million views. On February 7, 2016, several members of the police department, including White, and the teenagers he played with and their families, were invited to a game by the Orlando Magic of the NBA. The Magic brought them to the game by a bus and provided them with courtside seats for warm-ups. They met Magic players Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo as well as former players Dominique Wilkins, Nick Johnson, and Bo Outlaw. White was named "Harris Hometown Hero" and the GPD received a $1,000 donation for their youth programs.
White was prompted to create the "Basketball Cop Foundation" to build basketball courts in local areas that did not have one. On February 23, 2016, the GPD started a GoFundMe page to donate for their cause. As of March 9, White has raised over $5,600 in donations, with his goal being $25,000.
- "'Basketball Cop' Gets Big Assist in Rematch". NBC News. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Mettler, Katie. "Internet-famous 'Basketball Cop' forms foundation to bring the sport to more Florida kids". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Bianchi, Mike. "'Basketball Cop' shows kids, Shaq true meaning of police work". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Cason, Kristin. "'Basketball Cop' holds all-star tournament". News4Jax.com. WJXT. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Pelletiere, Nicole. "Police Officer Has Surprising Response to Complaint of Kids 'Disrupting' Neighbors". ABC News. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Earl, Jennifer. "Gainesville cop's response to teens playing basketball goes viral". CBS News. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Karimi, Faith. "Shaq, Florida officer surprise kids with a basketball game". CNN. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- Swirko, Cindy (23 May 2012). "GPD Officer of the Month". The Gainesville Sun. Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
- "Magic Honor Gainesville Police Officer Bobby White and #HoopsNotCrime Crew". NBA. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- Bitette, Nicole. "WATCH IT: Florida police officer surprises 'loud' teens by joining them in game of pick-up basketball". New York Daily News. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Rafferty, Scott. "Cool Cop Responds to Hoops Noise Complaint With Savage Dunk". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- "Gainesville Police Department". Facebook. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Stump, Scott. "Florida 'basketball cop' brings Shaquille O'Neal as backup in game with local kids". Today. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- Golgowski, Nina. "Shaq Provides Surprise Backup In Kids' Basketball Game With Police". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- "Viral basketball kids and cop get invited to Orlando Magic game". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- Manfred, Tony. "Basketball Cop is building courts for kids". Business Insider. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- "BasketballCop Foundation". GoFundMe. Retrieved 10 March 2016.