Officer Brandon Hanks is something of a local legend according to the kids who hang around the public basketball courts in Syracuse, as CBS News first reported. We have to start by going back a bit into Hanks' personal history, specifically two important facts of interest to make note of. Firstly, Hanks was a stellar basketball player in high school and college and still loves the game. And secondly, the young officer grew up in a neighbourhood where he as well as the kids he grew up alongside, were untrusting of the police.
"The only time I ever really saw them in my neighborhood was when someone was going to jail or getting arrested," Hanks said.
By the time he earned his badge, he had made a personal vow to change that damaging and untrue perception. He decided to start with social media. Hanks posted an open challenge to Facebook addressing it any of the kids that he sees when he does his patrol duties.
The rules of the challenge are simple: a game of one-on-one. Hanks vs. a local kid. The first basket wins. If Hanks wins, the kid does 20 push-ups. But if the kid wins, Hanks buys the winner a brand new pair of $150 sneakers.
As you can imagine, there is no shortage of Syracuse youth who want to challenge Hanks. But remember, the police officer is a pretty great ballplayer, having played all through school. "It gives me the hunger to not lose [...] thinking about the receipt for that $150 sneaker bill," Hanks said.
At the time of publication, he has not yet lost a challenge in twenty games. He gets the ball first every time, but he also plays in full uniform, as well, including his bulletproof vest. On the other hand, his challengers get to wear basketball shorts, comfortable T-shirts, and sneakers in the summer heat.
"I have my bulletproof vest on which adds about 10 to 15 pounds. So it kind of balances out the playing field with all this gear," he said. "All cops are not bad cops," one kid remarked of Hanks.
What do you think about this true American hero? Let us know down in the comments!