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Officer’s basketball challenge gets the attention of NBA player, donation of 25 pairs of sneakers

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The foundation of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has donated 25 pairs of sneakers to a Syracuse police officer’s basketball challenge.

Officer Brandon Hanks gained national attention last week after a video of Hanks playing pick-up basketball against kids in Syracuse went viral on Facebook.

“We are always willing to provide support to people who are willing to use their time, talent and treasure to make this world a better place,” Rondo’s foundation said. “One game, one chat, one day at a time.”

Hanks, who is in his second year as an officer, started playing against kids several months ago to build relationships in the Eastwood neighborhood he patrols.

Approximately three weeks ago, Hanks began offering a challenge. If Hanks’ opponent scored first against him, his opponent won a pair of shoes, courtesy of Hanks. If Hanks scores first, the opponent owes Hanks 20 push-ups.

A video of the challenge picked up more than 38,000 views on Hanks’ personal Facebook page. CBS featured Hanks on its nightly news. Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard wrote about the officer’s challenge.

On Monday, 7-year-old Josiah Brandon became the first person to beat Hanks in the challenge.

Hanks said he began playing basketball against kids because basketball kept him out of trouble when he grew up in Syracuse. The officer grew up on West Colvin Street, off South Avenue, and played basketball at Henninger High School.

He later went on and played basketball at SUNY Morrisville.

Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief of the Louisville Police Department, where Syracuse police chief Kenton Buckner has previously worked, is the head of Rondo’s foundation. Hanks was linked to Gentry through Buckner.

Rondo is Hanks’ favorite NBA point guard.

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