Patty Mills Launches Indigenous Basketball Australia
ustralian Boomer and San Antonio Spurs player, Patrick (Patty) Mills has announced the launch of Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA), a program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to play basketball.
The IBA will begin at a grassroots level, offering skill development programs across Australia, aiming to provide opportunities for young Indigenous Australians to reach elite level basketball around the world.
Mills said the IBA will have a focus on celebrating Indigenous cultural practices in a safe environment free of discrimination, criticism, judgement, and exclusion.
“My love of basketball has come from the fact that it has brought me happiness, joy, health, education, and knowledge with a greater appreciation and perspective on life,” Mills said.
“At the end of the day, a platform was created for me to carry and be seen as my true identity as an Australian, an Indigenous man of the land.
“When I combine those experiences, I become aware of the positive influence I can have on my own people in Australia who are continuously oppressed.
“It makes me want to work harder at finding ways to provide better opportunities to make a real impact on the lives of my people.
“Indigenous youth are being detained at a rate 23 times that of non-Indigenous young people.
“Currently, of the 10-13-year-olds incarcerated, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up approximately 70% of this younger age group,” he said.
The creation of the IBA is Mills’ latest commitment to social justice causes in Australia, after he donated his entire salary for the remainder of the NBA season, which is over US$1 million, to Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody and the ‘We Got You’ campaign.
Mills also helped launch the ‘We Got You’ campaign with a number of Australian athletes, dedicated to identifying the issues athletes face across all sports, aiming to eliminate racism, exclusion, and discrimination.
“Basketball will be the vehicle, and IBA will drive this vehicle to one day see more Indigenous Australians pulling on the Green and Gold for the Boomers or Opals,” Mills said.
“But if IBA can create the positive environment that allows my people to enjoy a healthy and safe life, to be accepted and participate in a society free from discrimination, then that’s the real win for my people in this life,” he said.