GAINESVILLE, Fla. – There’s a new basketball court in northeast Gainesville, and it’s courtesy of the Basketball Cop. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled during the first ever CommUNITY day on Sunday starting at 2:00 p.m. at the Upper Room Ministries at 3575 NE 15th Street in Gainesville.
In January, police officer Bobby White became an overnight Internet sensation after dashcam video of his response to a street basketball game went viral. The wave of attention even prompted a visit to Gainesville by the Harlem Globetrotters and NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal.
Officer White quickly realized the success of using sports to bring kids and cops together and started the Basketball Cop Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides sporting equipment to police agencies and neighborhoods around the country.
When White’s not sending equipment all over the country, he’s looking to his local community for ways to help out even further.
He connected with the ministerial staff at Upper Room Ministries, and learned that they originally had a basketball court on their building plans, but ultimately could not afford to build it at the time. White stepped in, and his Foundation supplied the funds to cover the construction of a full-size concrete court, complete with two commercial basketball hoops.
The court is already being enjoyed by not only the members of Upper Room Ministries, but the neighborhood children at the nearby Village and Forest Green Apartment complex, which had no basketball facilities of its own. It’s hoped that the new court will be a safe haven for kids and adults alike.
The court will be officially unveiled to the public this Sunday, and local law enforcement and other community leaders will be in attendance. There will be free food and music, and of course, plenty of basketball to be played.