On Thursday, Aug. 21, Los Angeles Laker player Rajon Rondo donated 25 pairs of sneakers to Syracuse Police Officer Brandon Hanks for his youth basketball challenge after seeing the viral video of children from Syracuse taking on Hanks in basketball games in city parks, WSYR-TV reported.

“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,” the Rajon Rondo Foundation released a statement. 

“It just goes to show you … good things happen to good people, and when you’re doing good deeds, those type of things go unnoticed. So, for him to see that from miles and miles away really meant a lot to me and will probably stick with me forever,” Hanks said in accepting the donation.

Hanks, a native of the south side, gained national attention last week after a video of him playing pick-up basketball against children in Syracuse went viral on Facebook.

Hanks challenged children in Syracuse to a game of basketball, promising to buy sneakers for whoever could beat him. If they win, they get a pair of sneakers. If they lose, they have to do 20 push-ups.

“My actual goal is to community police the neighborhoods that I work in and neighborhoods I grew up in. So I can come out and show them a positive interaction because not all interactions have to be negative,” Hanks said.

The first challenger to beat him on Monday, Aug.18, was 7-year-old Josiah Brandon from Bellevue Elementary. He wears a shoe size 2, according to Syracuse.

Seven-year-old Josiah Brandon became the first person to beat Hanks in the challenge. (Syracuse Police Department/ Facebook)

“It was heartwarming to see youth reaching out to Hanks challenging him to a game of one-on-one, it was even more important that he is answering their call. We know that kids’ lives are easier when they have a network full of positive, influential, and supportive people in their corner and especially in their neighborhoods. It is our hope that these conversations lead to relationships that are meaningful and lasting,” the Rajon Rondo Foundation said in a statement. 

Hanks grew up on West Colvin Street, off South Avenue, and played basketball at Henninger High School and SUNY Morrisville. He is a former guard for Henninger High School and SUNY Morrisville, and now is a three-year veteran on the police force. Rondo is Hanks’ favorite NBA point guard.

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