SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio police officer whose one-on-one basketball game with a local 12-year-old became a viral video online says he was "paying it forward" by spending his break playing against the young athlete.
Officer Neil Rocha said he saw Jacob Aguirre playing Wednesday night and requested to go on his break. He said it reminded him of when he first came to the United States from Ecuador and saw New York police officers stopping to play games with the kids there.
Once his break was confirmed by the dispatcher, he approached the basketball court.
"I got out of the vehicle and I kind of see him hesitate and I say, 'Hey, man, you wanna play one-on-one?' And he said, 'Yeah, why not?'" Rocha said. "So we start playing, and soon we kept playing more and more. You know, the little brothers came out and it was fun."
Jacob's mom caught it all on her cell phone and posted it to Facebook, where the "mystery" police officer and his young opponent became a viral hit. But at first, she wasn't sure why the officer had stopped.
“I thought something had happened, but when I check, he’s actually playing basketball with the cop,” Monica Aguirre said. “It’s not every day this little life experience [happens] for him. It’s huge. It may not mean much but it’s huge."
Rocha won the game, 12-10, but that wasn't the end.
"When I left, I shook his hand and he asked me, 'Officer, could you turn on the lights?' so I did that," Rocha said. "And he said, 'Can you do the siren now?' So I did the siren. Then I said, 'Alright, I gotta go.'"
The sixth-grader bragged to his friends in school about his big game, but he also had a message for Officer Rocha:
“I want my rematch."