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Basketball Great Surprises Florida Children

Shaquille O'Neal Meets Gainesville Police Department
Shaquille O'Neal Meets Gainesville Police Department
Basketball Great Surprises Florida Children
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This is What’s Trending Today.

Bobby White works as a police officer in Gainesville, Florida.

On January 15, he was told to investigate a noise complaint. A group of young men were playing basketball in the street.

Instead of lecturing the boys or sending them home, White joined in on the game.

He said: "Can you believe someone's calling to complain about kids playing basketball in the street -- can you believe that?"

White started shooting baskets with the kids. And a few minutes later, some more boys joined the game.

Later, the police officer and the kids lowered the basketball hoop and were having a “slam-dunk” contest.

The camera on White’s police car recorded the event.

The police department posted the video on Facebook. It was seen over 15 million times.

Department officials praised White for the way he reacted to the complaint.

Before he left the boys, White said he would come back again “with back-up.” That generally is what police officers say when they are requesting help from other officers.

As the video spread, a former basketball star became interested in what happened in Gainesville.

That player was Shaquille O’Neal. He was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers when they won the National Basketball Association championship. He also played for the Orlando Magic, a team not too far from Gainesville.

The other day, O’Neal visited the Gainesville police and spoke with White.

And then they went out to “the scene.” That is what police officers call the area where a crime happened. But of course, there was no crime.

This time, White told the boys “told you I was going to bring some back-up, right? You guys ready?”

And O’Neal emerged from a nearby sports utility vehicle.

One of the kids said “Oh, my God, you’re huge!,” as O’Neal, weighing over 140 kilograms and standing over 2 meters tall, walked up.

O’Neal played basketball with the boys and other officers as a crowd gathered.

O’Neal eventually gathered the boys together and offered this wisdom: “Be a leader, not a follower;” “Respect your peers and your elders;” and “You can be whatever you want to be.”

In addition, he passed out $100 to each boy – as long as he made one free throw shot.

The video was played over 1 million times.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

How would you have handled the situation with the kids? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

contest – n. an event in which people try to win by doing something better than others

peer – n. a person who belongs to the same age group or social group as someone else

wisdom – n. knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life

emerge – v. to rise or appear from a hidden or unknown place or condition :to come out into view

complain – v. to say that you do not like something

elder – n. a person who is older — usually plural

scene – n. the place of an event or action