It started with a noise complaint.
Now, a basketball court sits in 16-year-old Tyree Thomas’ backyard.
To christen the new concrete, a Harlem Globetrotter played against “Basketball Cop,” rolling the ball between Gainesville Police Officer Bobby White’s legs.
On Tuesday, White unveiled the court and its NBA-sized hoop. He also announced an upcoming foundation to bring basketballs and hoops to Gainesville’s youth.
“If I just let it end here, I’d be doing a disservice to an infinite number of kids,” White said.
Thomas and his friends used to play basketball on the street in front of his house.
On Jan. 15, his neighbor called police and said the kids, who range from 12 to 17 years old, were too loud.
When White arrived, he noticed the kids weren’t breaking any laws and decided to play with them.
His dashboard camera recorded the game, and GPD uploaded it to Facebook.
“It got to 50,000 (views) and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. That’s like the population of UF,’” White said. “And then by midnight, it hit a million.”
Shaquille O’Neal saw the video and visited White and the kids on Jan. 23. The Orlando Magic later invited them to an NBA game.
Cliff Denney, a co-owner of One Love Cafe, donated the backyard court.
“One day they prepped it. The next day they poured it. The day after that, the kids were playing on it,” White said.
As he peered over a fence Tuesday, Larry Archer, 54, enjoyed the spectacle.
Archer said relations between police and residents have not always been good. If officers were in your backyard, it probably wasn’t for a game of ball.
“I’ve been living here for 25 years, and I never thought I’d see anything like this,” Archer said.
For Aahtrell Johnson, 17, the past month has been something he never expected.
“At first, no,” he said. “But then Shaq came and I was like, ‘We famous.’”