San Antonio Spurs guard and spiritual animal Patty Mills received the February NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his ongoing commitment to creating opportunities that empower Indigenous young people and advance social justice in his native Australia. Per NBA Cares’ official press release:
In February, Indigenous Basketball Australia, which was founded by Mills to provide pathways for Aboriginal Australians to play basketball, tipped off the first-ever Indigenous Community Basketball League (ICBL) for players age 14 and under in eight locations across Australia. The tournaments, which preserve and celebrate Indigenous cultural practices, focus on basketball development and life skills education, including mental and physical well-being as well as strengthening individual identity at a critical age. Additionally, Mills partnered with the NBA and the Jr. NBA to announce the National Indigenous Basketball Tournament (NIBT) at the Gold Coast in Queensland from April 11-13, which will provide additional on- and off-court development opportunities for 48 boys and girls.
Mills has dedicated much of his professional playing career in the United States to giving back to Australia, with a particular focus on empowering Indigenous young people and communities of color. In 2020, he donated the remainder of his 2019-20 season salary to social justice organizations and helped launch the ‘We Got You’ campaign in collaboration with other high-profile Australian athletes, dedicated to eliminating racism, exclusion and discrimination in sports. Mills also organized a $750,000 donation from nine Australian NBA players in the wake of the devastating Australian bushfires earlier in the year.
Mills will be recognized during tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings, and Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on his behalf to Indigenous Basketball Australia.
Good on ya, Patty!