In recent years, people have grown distrustful of police, but one cop found a unique way to connect with youth in his area. Arius George, a sergeant with the L.A. Police Department, calls himself the “trick shot cop” because of his impressive basketball skills. He uses this as a way to break the ice with young people in his area. Arius hopes to gain the trust of his community and remind people that cops are human too.
He first discovered his talent when he was playing basketball with his brother one day. Before they left the court, Arius threw a basketball at the wall not thinking anything of it, and it almost hit the rim. As soon as he saw that, he told his brother he thought he could make the shot. So, he practiced a couple more times and ended up making it on the third try!
Says Sargeant George,
“It became more and more fun, and it just developed from there. I want to say the most rewarding thing is to interact with individuals.”
He says that many people he connects with seem surprised once they notice his cop uniform. They never thought of a police officer doing cool things like basketball tricks. So, the youth on the court get to see a different side of cops because of Arius’ example. They bond over their shared interest in basketball, and this helps Arius bridge the growing gap between cops and average citizens.
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One of his most popular tricks is making the shot while standing backwards, sometimes from halfway across the court! He also does his original trick of bouncing the basketball off the wall and into the rim. Other trick shots include slam dunks, spinning the ball on one finger, and making a shot even while sitting down! He enjoys adding new tricks to his routine as often as possible.
The basketball trick shots take him all over the city
“Being creative is probably the most difficult part about doing trick shots,” he says. “Sometimes I get inspired by dunkers, or sometimes I’ll just go into a gym or park and I’ll just stand there and look at my surroundings, and see what I can come up with.”
He’s even gotten to practice his backward half court trick shot on the L.A. Lakers court! When he’s not in the gyms or big arenas, he enjoys exploring the city and going to new parks. On his YouTube channel, you can see him adventuring to new neighborhoods and connecting with many people through his art.
“I hope to continue what I’m doing, and allow it to grow more and more and reach more people,” he says.
Arius hopes his trick shots continue to show the community that cops genuinely care about and want to protect people. He never imagined that his love for basketball would allow him to connect with so many people throughout his city. Not only does he meet his community on the court; he checks on them at their homes as well.
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He takes his basketball move to Instagram.
On his Instagram, he posted videos of him and the squad buying pizza and a basketball goal for a grandmother and her five grandkids she’s raising. In another video, they showed up at a 93 year old woman’s home to mow her lawn for her during the stay-at-home order. In another video, he crashed a kids’ summer camp to do a trick shot for them, and it made their day!
Arius hopes his positive influence on the community will help heal the growing divide between cops and people. In this past year especially, the tensions between the police force and citizens have been at an all-time high. Unfortunately, the media often paints a one-sided picture of cops by reporting on police brutality and racial profiling. While these issues need to be addressed, the reality is that most cops out there are for the people.
Why we need good cops in our society
There will always be a few bad apples in any area of society, most people genuinely want to help and have good hearts. This is also true of police, but they are held to a higher standard because of the power they possess. The protests this year were completely justified, as police brutality toward any race needs to be eradicated. We can’t have a peaceful world while certain people continue to abuse their power.
However, without cops, we would have no one to check on the community and respond to emergency calls. Society would devolve into chaos because no one would be there to enforce the laws. If someone broke into your house and stole something, for example, you’d have no one to turn to. Not only do cops respond to 911 calls, they also help the community in smaller ways.
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If your car breaks down on the side of the road, a cop passing by will help if they have the time. They’ve helped people change flat tires, jump their car, and even make repairs depending on the cop. They give food and clothes to the homeless, help people look in their neighborhood for lost pets, and buy gifts for needy families for Christmas.
Most police just want a happy, crime-free society, and do whatever they can to help. Some go above and beyond to make sure their community is safe and looked after.
Final thoughts: Cops connect with their communities in many ways, sometimes even with basketball!
Not all cops are created equal. Some work their normal shifts and go home after work, but others like Arius have a mission. He wants to show people that cops truly care about their communities, and are for the people. He shows up at parks and gyms throughout LA to bond with people over basketball.
His trick shots have helped him make new friends and connections throughout the city, and he hopes it will keep growing. As he bonds with people over their shared love of basketball, he’s also helping heal hearts. He wants people to know they can trust cops, and we should look at them as friends rather than enemies.