It might be a holiday Down Under, but this Australia Day, two of the biggest names in Australian basketball, Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut, faced off against each other in one of the biggest games so far this season. Bogut’s Warriors may have walked away with an impressive win, but Patty Mills and his Australian-themed shoes put up a strong fight.
Australia Day is always a big occasion for Aussies overseas, especially for those who get the chance to represent their country on a world stage. As an indigenous Australian, Australia day has an even deeper meaning for Mills.
When asked what Australia day means to him, Mils said: “For me it means a lot of things. I think being away from Australia for almost ten years, it’s one of those holidays that always hits home for me and a time for me to share my culture with my team mates and other people over here in the states. Listen to Australian music, eat Australian food, drinks as well – flat whites, whatever it may be, all about culture, from my Australian culture to my indigenous culture I like to recognize it all and share it with everyone over here.”
The Australian public have long been supporters of Mills, and this season he has expanded his role further to be a key player on this Spurs’ roster. Tony Parker isn’t getting any younger, and even though Parker is still doing a great job on the floor, Mills role is growing as he takes charge of the point guard position.
“I’ve obviously been here for quite some time now and I’m just trying to learn, and learn as much as I can and put it into my game and adapt to it,” said Mills. “This is an environment where you get the opportunity to develop your game, and obviously understanding the system helps a lot more. But I’ve made strides and bounds since being here and I hope it shows and I can continue to do it.”
After five years with the Spurs now, Mills has become a fan favorite and has developed from a player pushing to get court time, to a key part of one of the best teams in the competition. Under the guidance of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Coach Popovich, Mills says that the Spurs have played a critical role in his development on and off the court.
“It’s understanding that what we do for a living is only a small part of what goes on in the world, and broadening my sigh to the things that matter most in the world, he said. “It’s true what I say because if I wasn’t here then I don’t think I would of heard those things.”
With so many Australian players in the NBA this season, the country is looking forward to the next Olympics in Rio where the national team will be the strongest that the country has ever sent to an international competition. Mills says that he’s looking forward to playing alongside Bogut and the Cavs’ Matthew Dellavedova : “Obviously I’ve been playing with them for quite some time and we have some good battles when we play against each other, but I’d rather be playing with them than battling with them. You know it’s a great opportunity for us to play together for Australia when we head over to Rio, so I’m looking forward to it for sure”.
Followers of Mills may have noticed that he has a strong social media presence, this season he’s become quite adept at posting on Instagram, teaming up with his friends and teammates, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw, for some great photos and videos. Mills says that they enjoy their time together away from the court, and that they like to be able to give people a glimpse into who they are and what they get up to.
2016 promises to be a huge year for Patty Mills. He will be playing playoff basketball with the Spurs, and heading to the Olympics to represent his country – not bad for a kid from Canberra.
Featured Image: Sportal
Story Image: Herald Sun