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Patty Mills announced as NBL ambassador

The National Basketball League (NBL) today announced that 2014 NBA Championship winner and San Antonio Spurs star Patty Mills will join the new-look NBL as its first official Ambassador. The NBL made the announcement at Fitzroy Primary school. Mills is the first Indigenous Australian to win an NBA Championship and only the second Indigenous Australian to play in the NBA. He will continue to play in the NBA but will become one of the faces of the NBL and undertake a lead role in building the NBL’s community participation programs. General Manager of the NBL Jeremy Loeliger said he was excited to welcome Patty Mills as part of the NBL’s wider team. “I am excited to welcome Patty Mills to the NBL family. We have been talking with Patty while he has been home in Australia about his passion for giving back to the sport of basketball in Australia, the NBL, and specifically inspiring Indigenous and multicultural kids all across Australia to achieve their goals through sport,” he said. “The NBL is committed to developing a strong community program that will give kids in rural and remote communities, as well as those in the suburbs, an opportunity to participate in basketball and perhaps one-day emulate Patty’s success.” Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs the Hon. Robin Scott welcomed Patty Mills to Melbourne. "I am very pleased to welcome Patty Mills to Melbourne today. He is a remarkable ambassador for both the game of basketball and our country,” he said. "The efforts by the NBL to increase engagement with indigenous and multicultural communities should be commended. Patty is a great role model who I'm sure will encourage young boys and girls from diverse backgrounds to get involved with the game of basketball, in Victoria and across the nation." Mills said he was looking forward to becoming part of the NBL family and working together to develop a program much like the Indigenous community basketball club in Canberra that was his first step to becoming an NBA champion. “I first played basketball with the Shadows basketball club in Canberra – which was set up to enable Indigenous people to play basketball. It later expanded to become a multicultural basketball program and included players from all nationalities,” he said. “Shadow’s gave me an opportunity first, to play basketball, and then the confidence to work towards my goals and achieve my full potential.  It’s this sort of community support network that I am passionate about building with the NBL, and continue the legacy of Shadows to help other Indigenous kids around Australia get to the NBL, the NBA or just through school.” Mills’ mother is from Koonibba outside of Ceduna in South Australia, while his father is from the Torres Strait. Mills’ uncle Danny Morseau was a dual Olympian with the Australian Boomers team. Mills says his decision to work with the NBL is also his way of contributing to closing the gap. “It is so important for me to come back to Australia and participate in encouraging Indigenous kids to be the best they can be and help close the gap,” he said. “Even in basketball that gap is too wide - my uncle Danny Morseau was the second Indigenous person to play for the Boomers and that was in the 1980s. “In my generation it is Nathan Jawai and myself who have both played for Australia and reached the NBA and Rohanee Cox who played for the Opals. That is a thirty year gap that will hopefully lessen as I commit to building this program, among others, with the NBL.” Mills will begin his new role immediately.
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