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Patty Mills excited about BWB Asia Indigenous clinic

When Patty Mills signed on as the NBL’s Multicultural Ambassador in August last year, he could not have imagined that just 10 months later he would be joined by some of the NBA's finest to run a Basketball Without Borders camp for talented Indigenous hoopsters. [ooyala code="h3MWlkNDE6dXLJ3EnU9pwWyuxjY0Z7W3" player_id="d5b993422b3e4b5ebd61f9e19ca2a6a5" width="1920" height="1080" auto="true"] “That’s obviously huge for me,” he said. “Being so passionate about where I’m from, and my journey where I’m from to be able to get to where I am now, I take it upon myself as my job to create opportunities for Indigenous kids.” Mills said “it only feels like the other day” he was playing juniors in Dandenong Stadium – where the BWB camp is taking place – and says it was the enjoyment of the game that set him on the course to stardom. “Basketball and sports in general gave me something to look forward to, and I guess something fun, it brought joy because I was able to play with friends and family,” he said. “Then a competitive spirit grew in me, and it got to the age where it became serious and I didn’t like losing, and it just went from there.” Playing for the Shadows basketball club in Canberra, he also learned the importance of role models. “My dad was my biggest coach as a junior growing up, obviously he had a lot more to teach apart from just basketball, being my father, and there are a lot of things I learned from him that I put into today whether it’s on the court or off the court,” he said. “Those are the things you are very grateful for, those times as a kid growing up, you don’t realise, it doesn’t make sense when they tell you things, but down the road you understand.” Mills made the point that while so many Indigenous kids are sports mad, a large number live well away from the major metropolitan centres, meaning opportunities to meet sporting stars are vitally important. He’s excited by the partnership between NBL side Cairns Taipans and Queensland Government that will see Nate Jawai return to Far North Queensland and work with local communities, and hopeful the NBL and NBA can grow their partnership to allow him more opportunities like Sunday’s Indigenous clinic. “It’s huge. There’s been buzz around Nate and how well he’s done and signing in Cairns, and about me being here,” he said. “It’s all about community outreach and them being able to see us first hand, it’s different than them reading about us in the newspaper or on the TV. “If they can feel like there is a connection with them, and they can understand we are one of them, I think that’s what it’s all about.” He sees Basketball Without Borders Asia as a fantastic opportunity for all the young participants, and he thinks it might open some NBA eyes to just how much talent there is downunder. “It’s also great for the NBA and everyone who has come out here to visit. It’s a chance to see what Australian basketball talent is all about,” he said.
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