“Shaq” Attack in Florida

“Shaq” Attack in Florida


A police officer named Bobby White, received a call about “disruptive kids playing basketball too loudly in the street.” Officer White responded to the call and arrived on the scene. Instead of lecturing the boys about respecting their elders or threatening to take them to jail for disturbing the peace, he said, “Someone called complaining about kids playing basketball in the streets. Can you believe that? Obviously, I ain’t got no problem with it.” He then picked up the basketball and started playing ball with them. He gained the trust and respect of the kids… and told them that he will be back the next day with “Back up.”


What Officer White didn’t know was that NBA Hall of Fame player Shaquille O’Neil, a local resident, was introduced to this video and wanted to play a role as a surprise “back up,” for his return visit. Shaq preceded to play basketball with the resident boys and members of the police department. He took pictures with the kids and signed autographs. He went on to provide $100 to any boy who could make a shot from the edge of the road (a.k.a. the free throw line). He then left them with these words of wisdom, “stay out of trouble… listen to your parents… respect your elders… you can be anything you want to be…be a leader and not a follower…

Joe’s Perspective – A Proper Response: In an era when videos regularly surface about white cops mistreating black individuals harshly, here is a great example of what happens on a much more frequent basis without any notoriety. The initial reaction of the kids when Officer White pulled up was fear, uncertainty, and mistrust. It seemed like the kids were conditioned to not trust the police. Their guard was up. After Officer White began playing ball with them, other kids came out of their houses. He broke down the stereotypes of the cop who doesn’t care.

Joe’s Perspective #2 – Building Relationships: I believe Shaquille O’Neil understands the distrust of police officers from the black community. He also understands that police officers get a bad wrap due to the behavior of a few officers. Based on this, he wanted to showcase this positive interaction with the police in order to build trust between the police force and the Gainesville community. His presence did just that… and at 7 feet 2 inches, he has a big presence.

Joe’s Perspective #3 – Inspiring Kids: Shaq did not miss the opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the kids. And, yes, it’s cool to play ball with Shaq, but I think the lasting impression is the words. He asked the kids to repeat, “I will become whatever I want to be…I will be a leader and not a follower…I will respect me peers, my elders and especially my parents.”

Your Turn:

  1. What do you think of Officer White’s behavior?
  2. What do you think about Shaquille O’Neil getting involved like this?

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  1. That’s very nice. I believe that all police shouldn’t be judged on how one officer treats kids. I also think those kid’s liked their meeting of Shaquille O’Neil.


  2. I think it’s nice how he didn’t go up to the kids all disrespectful. That’s what most police officers would’ve done. Their shouldn’t have been a complaint in the first place. It was just some kids trying to have fun. There’s nothing wrong about that. Officers need to learn how to get close to the community

    1. Post

      Isaias, great comments. Just ask yourself how you know that “most” police officers wouldn’t have responded like this. Maybe he is the norm, but you never hear about it. Maybe you just hear about the one bad case and then you think all cops are like this. Remember, police officers are human beings. They live in a neighborhood and have families. I just ask you to think about it.

  3. 1. Officer White’s behavior was what someone of a decent perspective of life should have been,… an officer of the law seeing kids just having fun, playing Basketball one day..and made it better by joining in.

    2. Shaq, is a personal favorite to kids who love watching basketball,..and to especially meet with him in person,..to get autographs or even a photo is a dream come true,..those children were given an excellent gift that anybody could’ve given and that’s the chance to meet a basketball hero.

  4. I think officer Bobby White, is a really cool officer because he didn’t threaten the kids. When he came back with Shaq, i think that officer White was really cool with the “back up”.

  5. They he responded was a great way instead of going against them he helped them but also solved the problem by not giving them a lecture.

    Shaq was a good thing he gave everybody 100 dollars for making a shot he gave them a reward for not something they did but being respectful to the law.

  6. They he responded was a great way instead of going against them he helped them but also solved the problem by not giving them a lecture.

    Shaq was a good thing he gave everybody 100 dollars for making a shot he gave them a reward for not something they did but being respectful to the law.

  7. I honestly think its amazing that the cop gained the boys trust. His character and showing them that he didn’t mind that they were playing basketball. Not as many kids active anymore and i bet that why officer white didn’t mind as much. Instead of lecturing them his behavior was good. I think its amazing that shaquille NBA basketball player got involved like this because he gave them words of wisdom at the end that those kids may have changed things and become better student and kids.

  8. Police aren’t bad, their just doing their job and people don’t like it but that’s not their fault. It’s amazing what the police did.

  9. 1) I think Officer White responded in a positive way that allowed the neighborhood boys to trust him. Officer White chose to break stereotypes of police officers and I think that was a very respectable thing to do.

    2) I think it is a good thing that Shaq got involved because he is a big role model that kids look up to, so for the kids to see him in person and hear his “words of wisdom” was very impactful for the kids.

  10. 1) I think Officer White’s behavior was unexpected for the black boys playing basketball. Police officers are often seen as threats, especially to black people. By joining in their game of basketball, Officer White built trust with the boys.
    2) I think it was awesome that Shaquille O’Neil got involved in this situation as “back up” because he taught the boys not to be afraid of being a leader rather than a follower. He told them to be respectful of the people around them and encouraged them to be anything they wanted to.

  11. I think his behavior was good, compared to the situations that have been going on in our country. It was good for the kids to see a role model in shaq.

  12. I think that Officer White’s behavior was unexpected because you would not usually see an officer playing with a bunch of young black kids.
    I think that it is great that Shaq is getting more involved with young kids because they look up to him as a role model and when they see him doing positive things then they would be influenced to do so

  13. I like how the officer came and played with the boys! I hope they had fun! I thought it was cool for shaq to show up and play with them. It’s not often for a famous person to come out and play ball with some fans. But I hope those boys had fun and listened to his advice.