Over the past week Andrew Bogut has given Australian Basketball a huge boost by announcing that next season he will be retiring from the NBA and signing with the Sydney Kings to play in the National Basketball League in Australia.
The huge move from Bogut has got the whole country talking about basketball, and his fellow Australians currently playing in the NBA are behind him, and supporting his move back home.
Speaking on Bogut’s decision after the Spurs Playoff loss in Oakland on Tuesday night, Patty Mills was beaming with support for the big man.
“It’s awesome.” Says Mills.
“I love it and all the credit to him (Andrew Bogut) in having the opportunity to do so.” Mills continues, “It’s massive, and I just hope that everyone back home appreciates it for what it is, because it is bigger than what people think.”
The decision to retire from the NBA is not something that is taken lightly, and Mills knows the sacrifice that Bogut is making to be closer to his family, and help the NBL to take another massive step forward by bringing home of our greatest basketball exports to date.
“For him to do that – he’s doing a great thing. I’m in full support of him and hopefully it helps to promote basketball as a sport within the country.”
Bogut isn’t the only Australian making headlines in the basketball world this week, with Joe Ingles lighting things for the Utah Jazz, and Ben Simmons at the Philadelphia 76ers both leading their teams deeper into The Playoffs.
With so much talent coming out of Australian basketball at the moment, Mills says it’s hard not to get excited about when we can get all of our guys in the green and gold playing together over the coming years.
“You see how many Aussies are in The Playoffs here this year – and playing really well, and we’re improving our chances with the national team coming into the World Championships and Olympics.”
As someone who wears the green and gold on his sleeve, Patty Mills has been leading the way for Australians in the NBA for the last 8 years, and with Bogut’s return to the Australian professional league, Mills hopes that the Australian public gets behind the league and helps it to continue to grow.
“This is another part of this big picture thing for Australian basketball, so I hope everyone gets on board and understands how big it is. “
After another impressive season with the San Antonio Spurs, Mills role with the organization continues to expand as he’s’ cemented himself into the starting line-up and as a leader of the team – on and off the floor.
Mills still has a lot of basketball to play in the NBA before he will be contemplating making the move back to Australia to join Bogut in the NBL, but as Australian basketball fans, we can only keep getting more and more excited about the growth of the sport in our home country.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated