NYPD officer wins on the basketball court and with community

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Mallory Hoff has the story

Most of the time, when you see an NYPD officer on duty they're on patrol.

But one officer is using basketball to make a connection to one Bronx community, and she has some moves!

Bronx native Joe Houston has played on his neighborhood court hundreds of times, but cell phone video of him playing is gaining attention online.

He took on a police officer who would become an opponent on the court and a teammate off of it.

"Did he know what he was in for?" Eyewitness News asked.

"I think he underestimated me," the officer said.

Now the two are hitting the court in Nelson Playground once again.

For Houston, who is so good at the game neighbors call him the legend, it's a second attempt to win big, after NYPD 44th Precinct Officer Christina Baxter schooled him in their first game of pick up.

"I beat him five to two and his response was what, I want a rematch, and you said anytime," Baxter said.

The two met just a few weeks back when Baxter was patrolling the area. They hit it off talking about basketball while she and her partner we doing a community visit.

"You see these officers, what is going through your head?" Eyewitness News said.

"Intimidation. I start packing up ready to go. 'What are y 'all running for, we just want to talk,' And that's how everything started," Houston said.

"We started getting deeper into basketball how he used to play when he was younger, he started talking about how he had a really good jump shot, you had a lot in common, yeah," Baxter said.

What he didn't know as they took the court is that she has game, so much so that her skills earned her a full ride to college.

"She has a whole lot of game, extremely talented," Houston said.

Baxter won again, but both agree that the real winner is the neighborhood.

"If young kids see me and Joe having a conversation with me, and Joe speaking with me, they'll do the same. A lot of kids look up to him," Baxter said.

"We're trying to make a change. We're not trying to keep the violence around here, none of that we're trying to be at peace with everybody, the teacher, the police officer," Houston said.

Before Eyewitness News left, a pickup game of one-on-one became a game of five-on-five. This time Houston's team took the win.

As they shook hands, a relationship continued to grow, a bond they say will not be left on the court.
Related Topics:
hobbiesnypdbasketballNew York City
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